FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. What is a referendum?
A referendum is a general vote on a political question that the electorate needs to make a direct decision. Wisconsin school districts must use referendums to have the authority to raise taxes or pay off debt. The Burlington Area School District has proposed three questions to allow the District to borrow funds for facility needs.
Q. When is the last time we had a referendum?
Twenty years ago, in 1997, voters approved a $29.9 million referendum to build a new high school and Winkler Elementary, and complete an addition at Lyons Elementary along with modifications to Karcher to prepare it to be a middle school. Thirteen years ago, in 2004, a $2.8 million referendum passed for outdoor athletic facilities and light and sound equipment to the auditorium at Burlington High School.
Q. What is the tax impact?
The District is about to pay off the loans associated with building Winkler Elementary and Burlington High School as well as expanding/remodeling at Lyons and Karcher schools. As a result, beginning in 2019, the debt portion of the school property tax bill will drop by $112 for each $100,000 or a home’s value. Using a homeowner analogy, our home mortgage will soon be paid off, and the District will be nearly debt free. This drop in loan payments gives the community an opportunity to borrow up to $30 million in facility upgrades with no tax increase over the current level. Given this information and the historically low interest rates, the School Board believes this is a good time to consider updating our facilities. Use the Tax Impact Calculator on the right to calculate your tax impact.
Q. What is included in Question One?
A new Karcher Middle School would be a $59.3 million investment in a new, energy efficient, two-story middle school with furnishings, fixtures and equipment. This includes the demolishion of the old Karcher Middle School. The new school would accommodate grades 5-8. Planning to date has placed the 4K-6 Montessori program in one location at Karcher. $9 million would go toward district-wide maintenance, secured entrances, and flexible instructional spaces.
Q. What is included in Question Two?
Additional athletic space would alleviate scheduling pressures created when accomodating school and community events. The expansion would include a three station gymnasium, weight room, wrestling room, gymnastics room, locker rooms, coaches offices and training room.
Q. What is included in Question Three?
An additional Performing Arts Center would provide more space for school and community events. The Performing Arts Center includes theater with orchestra pit; stage; patron space (lobby, foyer, cloak room, ticket office, concessions); work space and storage for scenery, costumes and uniforms; dressing and make-up rooms; and a projection AV room.
Q. Why is a new Middle School needed?
The work required to renovate Karcher Middle School is significant and costly. Parts of the building are 93-years-old. A new school solves the long-term building needs. Further, a new school could offer expanded learning opportunities for area students.