Ashwaubenon School District
Keith Lucius, Assistant Superintendent
What was the issue you were trying to solve?
The swimming pool at Ashwaubenon High School is only 5 lanes and does not have sufficient deck space to host swim meets. In addition the pool was built over 50 years ago, so there are concerns that it would not be repairable if something broke.
The District tried for a replacement pool through referendum, but the referendum failed. A significant factor in the failure
of the referendum was that the District is negatively tertiary aided at 50%. The voters did not want to pay a 50% aid penalty for building a swimming pool. Additionally, similar size and age issues existed in the auditorium at the High School. We had parent groups asking the School Board
to bring both projects to referendum. The School Board was hesitant to go to referendum because of the negative aid issue.
What was the proposed plan to address the issue?
The parent groups that requested a referendum prepared usage studies for the pool and auditorium. Based on the usage studies, it was clear that both facilities were used by the community more than the District. Since the Ashwaubenon School District is completely located within the boundaries of the Village of Ashwaubenon, we decided to talk with the Village about holding a referendum to build the facilities.
How was the plan implemented?
After several long meetings, the Village Board approved a referendum on the facilities. The new facilities will be attached to the High School. In order to share the cost, the District will maintain and operate the facilities, while the Village will borrow the money to build them. In April of 2014 the referendum passed with over 60% of the community supporting the projects. The strong support for the referendum was great. In addition, we (District and Village) have received many comments from community members regarding how much they appreciate the District and Village working together to meet the needs of residents in the most cost effective way.
How did it solve the problem?
We believed that the community supported the projects. The big reason that the community rejected the previous referendum was the negative tertiary aid impact related to the District borrowing for the construction. In addition, it brought awareness to the fact that these facilities are used by more than just the District. They are community facilities that happen to be maintained by the District.
I think community members really want to see different government units work collaboratively and they supported the projects because they felt both the Village and District were working to find the best solution.
What was saved? Or what new funds were generated?
The taxpayers saved 50% on the principal and interest on the $17 million in bonds over 20 years. In addition, this has lead to added sharing of services between the Village and the School District that will provide tax savings and additional services.