Boots & Sabers

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0928, 01 Dec 19

West Bend School Board to Discuss Facilities

This could be interesting. From the Washington County Insider.

December 1, 2019 – On Monday, Dec. 2, 2019 the West Bend School District Committee of the Whole will meet at 5:30 p.m. to discuss facilities planning.
A couple bullet points are listed below including student transportation and looking at the configuration of the high schools.

Topic and Background: Administration wishes to resume the discussion surrounding our District’s current and future facilities needs as a continuation of this recent standing agenda item.

This coming Monday evening, Mr. Ross will finish sharing information on our secondary schools and auxiliary buildings. Further, he will be bringing forward summary information on our operational costs.

Additional topics will include:

  • Property values by municipality

  • Property value south of County Road NN (and) property value of the Jackson Elementary attendance area

  • Discussion of building with debt issuance versus lease-to-own through operational dollars

  • An update on student transportation and how this service is structured

  • An identification of our Board policy 188 discussing the configuration of the high school(s) and a change from the existing design


0928, 01 December 2019


  1. Mark Hoefert

    At the last meeting, the Superintendent had proposed looking at the value of the tax base from Pleasant Valley Road south to the southern border of the WBSD.  I think he based that on proximity, because farther north you start to get closer to West Bend.  Several Board members did not agree and asked that it be north up to County Highway NN, which is part of the Jackson elementary attendance area. In some of those areas, households are 6-7 miles from Jackson school, but much closer to McLane (3.5 miles, which used to be their attendance area before the current attendance areas were configured) or Decorah School (3.1 miles). Also, the task force proposal for a new south elementary school would be closer to them.  I would speculate that those households may favor a new south side school versus a new Jackson school.

    In 2013, the attendance boundaries were changed, and Jackson’s attendance area was Village of Jackson, Town of Jackson, and the lower tier of Town of Trenton sections.  This was done in response to Barton being closed, Silverbrook being reconfigured to have 5th graders, and to balance the enrollment between the elementary schools. At that time, the Jackson attendance area was extended west of Highway P (portion of Town of Polk) up to the east shore of Little Cedar. It was also extended north and west to Highway NN, which is a portion of Town of West Bend.

    At the time, it was also the recommendation that these attendance boundaries be reviewed within 5 years.  I have not found any evidence that this has been done at the Board level.

    I can’t tell by the agenda if they are going to do a reiteration to the original Jackson attendance area.  If they do, the tax value of those areas (18% of WBSD base) will pretty much correlate to the enrollment at Jackson School (also about 18% of WBSD students, if you add back the 60 that open enrolled out).  To do it based on the portions added to the attendance area in 2013 will overstate the amount of tax base, and might also overstate the attendance numbers at Jackson elementary school.

  2. Mark Hoefert

    There is a business joke that goes “we lose money on every sale, but we make it up on volume.”

    At the work session a board member talked about all of the Bielinski homes being built in Jackson. Bielinski is a regional high production builder of starter homes, based in Waukesha.

    Right now they have a ready-to-move in home for $350,000. Homes that have already been built and sold adjoining this new phase show 2018 Fair Market Values of less than $350,000.

    Going by mill rate of $7.97 x 350 = $2790 in revenue for the schools.  Property taxes account for 45% of district revenue.

    In 2018 the WBSD per student spend was $11,927.  45% of that was $5367.

    It takes a lot of homes with households not occupied by WBSD students to generate the necessary $5367 per student.  It also takes a lot of higher value homes – those $500,000+ homes (they would generate $3985+).  The 2019 Fair Market Values have not been posted for Village of Jackson yet. I tried clicking on what appeared to be substantial homes.  Found one that was very close to $500,000.

    I also looked at homes for sale: the highest one I found was $344,000.  There is a brand new home listed for $314,000.

    I get the feeling that the Board is trying to make a case that Village of Jackson generates this huge amount of money for the WBSD, that we are going to die if they go somewhere else (not sure where?).  But to come up with a positive number, they need to cast a wider net to capture value to prove that case.  But a new school is not going to generate more high value homes almost 7 miles away. I found two homes valued at more than $1 Million on Thoma Park Road, which is in the Jackson attendance area. Near the corner of 18th Avenue & NN I found a home at $1,050,000.

    My math on this may be a bit fuzzy, as is whatever the Board is trying to accomplish with this look at the tax base broken down by attendance area.

    A case can be made for the need to replace Jackson school, but not with tactics like this.



  3. Owen

    Based on what the task force found, the district could absolutely replace Jackson Elementary. The problem with that is that it only fixes that school. Right on the heels of that would be Decorah and Fair Park, with McClane soon to follow. What the task force found was that for approximately the same amount of money as a new Jackson, the district could build a new school that addresses three elementary schools and consolidates several other district facilities. The folks in Jackson really want all of the taxpayers to pony up for a new school for them. I hope they are willing to reciprocate when it comes time for Decorah and Fair Park.

  4. Mark Hoefert

    Yes, I agree with your perspective. When I said a case can be made to replace Jackson School, I did not intend to mean that said replacement should be limited to the current Jackson configuration. Leading up to the referendum I was suggesting a new site farther north that could address further growth on the east side of West Bend & Town of Trenton too.  I appreciate the Task Force came to a somewhat similar conclusion.  The difference is that I was trying to factor in future growth, whereas the Task Force taking into account the need for new facilities in light of the condition of existing facilities.

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