The Road to Referendum - April 2, 2019
The Sun Prairie Area School District is currently comprised of 14 schools (1 high school, 1 alternative school for mostly high school aged students, 1 upper middle school, 2 middle schools and 9 elementary schools), and is the fastest growing district in the state. The District-wide enrollment for the 2018-19 school year is 8,534 students, which is an increase from the 2013-14 year of 928 students, or 12.2%. Between September 2018 and 2030, MDRoffers Consulting projects an increase of 2,098 K-12 students in the District. Specifically in regards to secondary school space needs, 6th-12th grades enrollment is projected to grow by over 1,230 students by 2030. The current high school is already over target capacity and is anticipated to be over maximum capacity between 2025 and 2030.
To address the space needs in the District, we are in the process of Long-Range Master Planning. Phase 1 of the District's long-range facilities plan focused on elementary needs and resulted in two new elementary schools (Meadow View and Token Springs) that opened in September 2018. In order to identify and understand the District's needs, explore potential solutions and develop a Phase 2 long-range facilities plan that meets the needs of our expanding student population, the School Board formed the Secondary School Space Planning Committee (SSSPC).
The SSSPC was comprised of parents, staff, students, business partners, and city representatives. They began meeting in February of 2018, and were tasked with discussing the future of secondary education in the Sun Prairie Area School District. The committee held 16 meetings and considered numerous options before arriving at the Committee's advisory recommendation that they presented to the School Board on November 12, 2018.
After 10 months of citizens committee work (Secondary School Space Planning Committee) and a community survey in September 2018, the Sun Prairie Area School District Board of Education placed two referendum questions on the April 2, 2019 ballot:
QUESTION #1 | Address Secondary Space Needs (6th-12th Grade)
- Cost: $164 million
- Annual Tax Impact: $56 per $100,000 of property value
- Major Solution Components:
- Build a second high school
- Reconfigure Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School (CHUMS) to serve 6th-8th grades as the District’s third middle school
- Relocate Prairie Phoenix Academy to a separate and dedicated space at the current CHUMS building
- Provide professional development space at the current CHUMS building
- Build a new multi-purpose stadium at the Ashley Field site for use by both high schools
QUESTION #2 | Operational Funding
- Cost: $5 million per year beginning in 2019-2020
- Annual Tax Impact: $72 per $100,000 of property value
- Additional Detail:
- The first three years will fund $10 million in construction costs (saving the District close to $6 million in interest costs), with the remaining $5 million to help align teacher compensation closer to Dane County market rates ($15 million total). Year four and beyond will fund operations of the second high school.