- What is the capacity of the High School in comparison to the current enrollment and the projected enrollment growth?
- What is our current student enrollment and how much has it grown in the last five years?
- For how many years are enrollment projections typically reliable?
- What are the latest enrollment projections and where did they come from?
- What is the open enrollment program?
- HOW IS THE SCHOOL CAPACITY OF THE HIGH SCHOOL DETERMINED?
- Why does the District participate in Open Enrollment? Can you choose not to?
- WHAT ARE CURRENT OPEN ENROLLMENT NUMBERS FOR THE 2018-19 SCHOOL YEAR?
- HOW DOES OPEN ENROLLMENT IMPACT OUR SPACE?
- HOW MANY STUDENTS FROM FAMILIES LIVING OUTSIDE THE SUN PRAIRIE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT AND NOT PAYING TAXES HERE IN SUN PRAIRIE ATTEND SCHOOLS IN THE DISTRICT?
- WHAT CAN WE DO TO STOP ALL OF THE BUILDING AND EXPANDING IN THE SUN PRAIRIE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT?
- WHY IS A PORTION OF MADISON INCLUDED IN OUR SCHOOL DISTRICT? IF THEY ARE A SIGNIFICANT SOURCE OF GROWTH, WHY CAN'T WE JUST RE-DRAW THE DISTRICT BOUNDARIES AND GIVE THAT AREA BACK TO THE MADISON METROPOLITAN SCHOOL DISTRICT?
With any enrollment projections, the further out the projections go, the less reliable the projections can be. However in 2008, the University of Wisconsin Applied Population Lab (APL) projected about 8,739 students for the 2018-19 school year, and the actual number is 8,534. This is about 98% accuracy.
The University of Wisconsin Applied Population Lab (APL) provides enrollment projections for the district on an annual basis, with the most recent update completed in November 2018. In addition, the district contracted with MDRoffers Consulting to provide additional enrollment projections. Mark Roffers from MDRoffers Consulting presented his August 2018 Sun Prairie Area School District Community Growth and Projections Report to the district and interested community members on October 3, 2018.
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.
The State of Wisconsin allows students to attend a school district outside of where they live or have residence. This is called open enrollment. For every student who open enrolls in, the district receives about $7,400 for regular education students and about $12,400 for special education students. For every district student that open enrolls out, the state takes away the same amounts. There is a large financial component to open enrollment. For the current year, it is projected that the district will have a net positive impact of $456,000 from open enrollment. The district is careful to place open enrollment students in schools/grades - and in the case of special education, programs where space is available. The district currently significantly limits the number of open enrolled students at the high school because of space availability.
The capacity of a school is based on how individual rooms in a facility are being used, and takes the recommended number of students per instructional space multiplied by a utilization factor. Over time, the capacity of a school typically changes due to state mandated programs. These programs have typically decreased school capacities from when they were first constructed. In the Sun Prairie Area School District, the School Board has established a recommended number of students per instructor per grade, which is a different number for most grades. Middle schools or high schools are calculated differently than an elementary school because classrooms are dedicated to a specific group of students at the elementary level.
The method of calculating capacity is calculated two ways;
Target Class Size Capacity is the optimal enrollment level where the building is functioning most effectively as an educational facility.
Maximum Class Size Capacity is the maximum enrollment level that the building can effectively manage.
See the 2013 Building/Program Capacities - Educational Space Analysis for more information. This analysis was created to evaluate current and future space needs including target and maximum capacities.
The district can and does limit the number of open enrolling students that come into the district based on space availability and in the case of special education, our ability to meet their programmatic needs. Only schools/programs that have space accept students. For example, even though a parent might request Horizon Elementary School for open enrolling a student into kindergarten, the district would not place a student at Horizon if the kindergarten classes are full. The district places open enrolled students in grades/schools/programs that have room.
For the 2018-19 school, there are 262 students open enrolling into the district, and 193 students open enrolling out. Open enrolled "in" students account for approximately 3.0% of the total enrollment. Open enrollment is not driving the enrollment growth in the district. For every student who open enrolls in, the district receives about $7,400 for regular education students and about $12,400 for special education students. For every district student that open enrolls out, the state takes away the same amounts. The 2018-19 the net financial impact is a positive $456,000. The state gives and takes aid away from a district to cover the cost of open enrolled students both in and out of the district.
School district boundaries do not coincide with with city, village, or township boundaries. Some municipalities generate more equalized value towards the tax base than they have students enrolled. For example, a portion of the City of Madison property within the Sun Prairie district boundaries contributes 16% of the total district tax base. However, less than 1% of students who attend district schools live in the City of Madison.
- WHAT IS LONG-RANGE MASTER PLANNING?
- Has a site been decided on for the potential second high school?
- What has the Sun Prairie Area School District done to ensure they are taking the community's input into consideration when developing the plans to address the secondary school space issue?
- What are the steps in the process (planning, referendum, construction, etc.)?
- Will the new high school have a pool, PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, competition fields, etc.?
- IS THERE A LAYOUT OF WHAT THE CHANGES (IF ANY) WILL BE MADE TO THE CURRENT HIGH SCHOOL, PRAIRIE VIEW AND PATRICK MARSH MIDDLE SCHOOLS, CARDINAL HEIGHTS UPPER MIDDLE SCHOOL, PRAIRIE PHOENIX ACADEMY, AND ASHLEY FIELD?
- WHY NOT REBUILD ASHLEY FIELD AND BUILD A COMPETITION FIELD AT THE SECOND HIGH SCHOOL? WHAT WOULD THIS COST BE?
- WHY WAS ASHLEY FIELD CHOSEN AS THE OPTION FOR THE REFERENDUM VERSUS A FIELD AT BOTH HIGH SCHOOLS?
- WHY NOT EXPAND THE CURRENT HIGH SCHOOL TO ACCOMMODATE THE GROWTH?
- WHY WAS THE DECISION MADE TO INCORPORATE PRAIRIE PHOENIX ACADEMY (PPA) INTO THE UPPER MIDDLE SCHOOL? HOW WILL PPA AND THE UPPER MIDDLE SCHOOL BE SEPARATED AND WHAT AREAS/AMENITIES WILL THEY SHARE, IF ANY?
- WILL THE SECOND HIGH SCHOOL HAVE THE SAME CURRICULUM AND OFFERINGS AS THE CURRENT HIGH SCHOOL?
- WILL THE NEW HIGH SCHOOL LOOK JUST LIKE THE CURRENT HIGH SCHOOL?
- I THOUGHT THE EXISTING SET UP (GRADES 6-7, 8-9, 10-12) WAS OUR IDEAL CONFIGURATION. IF WE CHANGE TO A GRADES 6-8 AND 9-12 CONFIGURATION, WHAT IS THE EFFECT ON STUDENTS AND STAFF?
- WHY ARE WE ALREADY BACK AT REFERENDUM? SHOULDN'T WE HAVE PLANNED BETTER WHEN THE FIRST HIGH SCHOOL WAS BUILT TO ACCOMMODATE THE GROWTH?
- WHY ARE WE CHANGING THE 6TH-12TH GRADE CONFIGURATIONS?
- IF THE SECOND HIGH SCHOOL IS BUILT ON THE HWY 19 PROPERTY, WHAT IS BEING DONE TO ADDRESS THE TRAFFIC AND SAFETY CONCERNS AT THAT LOCATION?
- IF WE HAVE 2 HIGH SCHOOLS, WILL THE BUSING DISTANCE RULES STILL APPLY?
Long-range facilities master planning is a process used to make prudent decisions regarding current and future facilities and sites. Planning is a constant process for growing school districts like Sun Prairie. The planning aligns with the district's overall Vision, Mission, and Strategic Plan. Master planning is supported by due diligence regarding current facility conditions, understanding objectives and drivers, engagement of diverse stakeholder groups to understand values and priorities, and creative facilities solutions. Each potential component identified within a Master Plan may not become an immediate reality; the goal is to establish a clear vision for facilities as the foundation for fiscally responsible decision-making today and in the future.
The district owns approximately 100 acres off of Hwy 19, between Walgreens West and Gus's Diner. This land was purchased in 2005 for a second high school. The district has explored other land purchase options, but no other options have come up at this time that would be suitable for a second high school. The site is favorable considering it has five distinct access points.
Staff, students, parents and community members were invited to participate on the Secondary School Space Planning Committee (SSSPC). There was also community engagement sessions and focus groups held throughout the committee's process. A community survey was sent out to all staff and residents of the Sun Prairie Area School District asking for their input on the secondary school space plans. The public was invited to attend all SSSPC meetings, as well as the presentation of the Community Survey results and the Enrollment and Growth Projections report on October 3, 2018. The culmination of the SSSPC's work was the presentation of the committee's advisory recommendations at the November 12, 2018 Board meeting.
There will be 2 referendum questions on the April 2, 2019 ballot. If the referendums pass, there will be a number of subcommittees formed. The planning phase will begin immediately to develop plans and complete this work. A high level timeline as well as the committees that will be formed can be found here.
A small budget has been established for the current high school to create collaborative learning spaces that better support small group instruction and hands-on learning. Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School (CHUMS) would be renovated to serve as a third middle school to house the District's growing 6th-8th grade enrollment. In addition, part of CHUMS would be sectioned off to create a separate and dedicated space for Prairie Phoenix Academy (the current PPA building would be removed). CHUMS would also include a space for professional development/staff training. Patrick Marsh and Prairie View Middle Schools would also receive minimal investments for the learning environment. Ashley Field would be rebuilt for use by both high schools for competition and co-curricular events (athletics, marching band practices and performances and other community events). Both the current and second high school will have practice fields that can support events. Additional parking would be added at Ashley Field as well.
Two competition fields were not supported in the community survey. The Secondary School Space Planning Committee and the Board worked hard to put forth to voters a solution that was supported by citizens in the community survey. The second competitive stadium venue would have added another $17 million to the referendum.
This is the option that was supported by citizens on the community survey. This will allow Sun Prairie to continue to feel like one united community and save money by investing in one, competition stadium. Both schools will still have a variety of outdoor co-curricular spaces for games and practices.
The Secondary School Space Committee did not want the current Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School (CHUMS) building to accommodate more student capacity (725) than the two existing middle schools. Therefore, space was available at the CHUMS building. The building will house Prairie Phoenix Academy, a third middle school, and professional development space. This will fully utilize the space under this roof for three distinct and separate purposes.
When the grade configuration was changed to 6-7, 8-9 and 10-12 initially, the intent was to revert back to the traditional grade configuration (6-8, 9-12) once a second high school was built. At that time, it was projected a second high school would be needed in 10 years. The focus now is how has schooling changed in the last 10 years, and what access to opportunities are students given? Our data is no better or worse than other schools when comparing the 9-12 campuses.
This referendum is Phase II of the November 2016 referendum. The Board purposely divided solutions to meet the enrollment needs into two distinct phases. Phase I was focused on an elementary solution and was presented to the voters in November 2016. Phase II is focused on a secondary solution and will be presented to the voters in April 2019. In 2006, the community rejected constructing two high schools. In 2007, a referendum was passed to build one high school. The school was purposely sized at its current capacity knowing that in about ten years a second high school would need to be explored.
The School Board adopted a new grade configuration based on the recommendation brought forward by district administration in May 2018. The new grade configuration will be grades 6-8 and grades 9-12. This is the most common grade configuration for schools. The new grade configuration cannot be implemented until space solutions are implemented at the secondary level due to space constraints at the current high school.
Conversations are occurring between the District and the City of Sun Prairie around this topic to ensure traffic issues are alleviated as much as possible and that students, staff and the community can access the high school safely. As opposed to the current high school with only two entrances, the second high school will have five access points which will help to disperse traffic much better than the current high school.
- What are the anticipated costs with the projects set forth in the secondary school space planning and associated referendum?
- What are the potential tax impacts if the referenda are successful?
- What has our recent property growth been in the Sun Prairie Area School District?
- WHY IS AN OPERATIONAL REFERENDUM ALSO BEING PROPOSED TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR A NEW SCHOOL?
- HOW DO THE MUNICIPALITIES WITHIN THE SUN PRAIRIE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT IMPACT THE DISTRICT?
- WHAT ARE THE IMPACTS OF TIMING ON CONSTRUCTION?
- WHAT HAPPENS IF THE CAPITAL REFERENDUM PASSES AND THE OPERATIONAL REFERENDUM FAILS?
- WHAT HAPPENS IF THE OPERATIONAL REFERENDUM PASSES AND THE CAPITAL REFERENDUM FAILS?
- HOW WILL THE DISTRICT SUSTAIN THE FUNDS NEEDED FOR THE SALARY INCREASES ONCE THE SECOND HIGH SCHOOL OPENS?
- WHAT WILL BE THE COST FOR OPEN ENROLLED FAMILIES?
The capital referendum ($164,000,000) to address the secondary space needs would include:
- Building a second high school: $140,400,000
- Reconfiguring Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School (CHUMS) to serve 6th-8th grades and relocate Prairie Phoenix Academy to a totally separate and dedicated space at the current CHUMS building: $16,200,000
- Building a new multi-purpose stadium at the Ashley Field site for use by both high schools and remove the current Prairie Phoenix Academy building: $17,400,000
The total project cost is $174 million. An accompanying operating referendum, if passed, will allow the district to borrow $10 million dollars less, or $164 million, to accomplish the full project scope. Borrowing $10 million dollars less is projected to save citizens a projected $6 million of interest costs over the 20 year payback period.
The district's property tax base (total equalized value) grew by 8.9% this year. More property value growth equates to more total property value to spread referendum debt payments and operating expenses across. To project tax impact, the district is using a conservative growth estimate for the next 20 years (most years at 1%). If property growth and total property value increase more than 1% the final tax impact would be less than projected.
Wisconsin's school district revenue cap formula does not increase with the opening of a new school. The district's expenses will naturally increase due to the additional space needed to serve a larger student population (primarily due to staffing, equipment, supplies, utilities, and other operational costs). Therefore, the funding amount stays the same unless voters also approve an operating referendum to exceed the revenue cap for operational funding. If the additional funding is not secured, money needed to staff and operate the new school would need to come from existing resources, meaning deep cuts would be needed to balance the budget. The state requires a separate question for operating referendums.
All 10 municipalities contribute to the tax base for the district. School district boundaries do not coincide with with city, village, or township boundaries. Some municipalities generate more equalized value towards the tax base than they have students enrolled. For example, the portion of the City of Madison property within the Sun Prairie district boundaries contributes 16% of the total district tax base. However, less than 1% of students who attend district schools live in the City of Madison.
The cost to build increases every year. The average rate of construction inflation is estimated at 3.1% per year. If a building is constructed in 2018, it would cost less than the same building constructed in 2020 or later simply due to construction cost inflation. Additionally, interest rates remain historically low.
Operating funds are needed to staff and run the second high school. If the operating referendum is unsuccessful, the district will need to engage citizens for feedback and try to secure sufficient funds on the next referendum cycle in order to avoid deep budget cuts to operate the second high school.
Open enrolled families do not pay taxes to the Sun Prairie Area School District, however, the district receives aid from the state (from the sending district) to offset the cost of students who open enroll in. Conversely, the state sends our tax dollars to the neighboring district for Sun Prairie Area students who open enroll out.
- WHAT IS A FEEDER SYSTEM? AND WILL THERE BE A FEEDER SYSTEM ESTABLISHED FOR THE TWO HIGH SCHOOLS?
- WILL STUDENTS ATTENDING THE CURRENT HIGH SCHOOL NEED TO MOVE TO THE NEW HIGH SCHOOL EVEN IF THEY ONLY HAVE ONE YEAR TO GRADUATE? HOW WILL STUDENTS BE TRANSITIONED WHEN THE BOUNDARIES ARE REDRAWN?
- HOW WILL THE BOUNDARIES FOR THE TWO HIGH SCHOOLS AND THREE MIDDLE SCHOOLS BE ESTABLISHED?
- HOW WILL THE DISTRICT HANDLE ASSIGNING TEACHERS TO THE TWO HIGH SCHOOLS AND THREE MIDDLE SCHOOLS? HOW WILL IT BE DECIDED WHICH TEACHERS STAY AND WHICH TEACHERS MOVE?
- WHAT PREPARATIONS WILL OCCUR SO THAT STUDENTS FEEL SECURE WITH A REQUIRED MOVE FROM THEIR CURRENT SCHOOL?
- WHAT DOES RESEARCH SAY ABOUT "TRANSITIONS"?
A feeder system can be explained as the "pathway" grade progression through different school levels (elementary, middle and high school). If the referendum is successful, there will be a number of subcommittees formed. One of the committees will be the Boundary Task Force Committee. That committee will create a secondary schools boundary proposal for board consideration. Currently all elementary schools except Token Springs have a "clean" feeder system - meaning all the students within the school progress to the same middle school.
Transitions are extremely important because they represent major shifts in the daily contexts in which children and adolescents interact. For some students, the transition is smooth and peaceful, whereas for others, it is stressful. School transitions are related to a variety of behavioral and psychological changes. Research indicates that across transitions, students often experience changes in relationships with peers, parents and teachers. In addition, behavioral problems often become evident after a school transition, which is particularly true when students interact with new peer groups after the transition. Much research has examined changes in academic variables after transitions; many transitions are related to notable changes in students' motivation to learn, academic performance, and attitudes toward school.
- WILL THE HIGH SCHOOLS COMPETE AGAINST EACH OTHER IN CO-CURRICULA?
- WILL BOTH SCHOOLS BE DIVISION 1 IN TERMS OF ATHLETICS?
- WHAT WILL HAPPEN WITH THE MASCOT WHEN THERE ARE TWO HIGH SCHOOLS? WHO WILL BE THE CARDINALS? WHAT WILL THE NAME OF THE SECOND HIGH SCHOOL BE?
If the referendum is successful, there will be a number of subcommittees formed. The Student Migration Committee will determine how students will be transitioned into the second high school. In addition, the Activities, Athletics & Recreation Committee will address co-curricula. These committees will delve into the details of how programs will be structured and the transitional plans for their implementation. Overall, parents want more opportunities for their children so it is expected that expansive co-curricular opportunities will exist at each school. If teams exist at each high school they will compete against each other.
Divisions are determined by the WIAA for each respective activity and may change by year. The student transition plan must be completed before this question can be answered. If the referendum is successful, there will be a number of subcommittees formed. The Student Migration Committee will determine how students will be transitioned into the second high school. In addition, the Activities, Athletics & Recreation Committee will address co-curricular structure. Having two high schools will inherently meet the goal of more opportunities for students.
District citizens were surveyed in order to put forward referendum questions that reflect the feedback obtained in the community survey. If voters do not support the ballot questions, further feedback will be solicited to see what thinking changed from the original survey. The school space problem will not go away, it will only worsen and costs to address solutions will only increase as time goes by.