Voters in the Hamilton School District approved two referendum questions Feb. 20 that will allow for $57.4 million of construction projects, including a new intermediate school, and $1.5 million of operational costs.
Two questions were put to voters seeking approval for:
- a new intermediate school at a cost of $42.9 million and high school classroom projects that include the renovation and expansion of the Applied Engineering and Technology Program for $4.9 million and a 15-classroom addition on the front of the building for $9.6 million. — 61. 7% (4,789) percent in favor and 38.3% (2,974) percent opposed; and
- $1.5 million of operating costs for the intermediate school — 57% (4,424) percent in favor and 43% (3,334) percent opposed.
The unofficial results by municipality are (actual numbers in parenthesis):
|Municipality||# ballots||Facilities||Operational costs|
|Sussex||3,010||64.3% (1,935 )||35.7% (1,075)||60%
Supt. Paul Mielke, Ph.D., said he was grateful to the community for its support for the facilities which are needed due to increased growth.
“I want to thank our community for the support for school facilities and operational costs,” Mielke said. “The positive vote is testament to the commitment of our School Board and community members who have studied the long-term needs of the district and thoughtfully recommended this plan.”
“This vote allows the district to accommodate enrollment growth that comes from being an outstanding school district in a great community,” he said.
School Board President Gabe Kolesari said he was happy that the community chose to support the facilities projects and operational costs and commended the citizens’ group that provided leadership on the referendum.
“I am especially grateful for the support of the CLASS Committee – community members, parents and staff who invested many hours and significant energy to inform voters about the need for this referendum,” Kolesari said. “We were fortunate to have a group of passionate citizens who allowed residents to vote on this referendum based on facts.”
CLASS stands for Community Looking After Student Success. Community members Jamie Schounard and Sandi Blackwell co-chaired the committee as it reached out with information to the community.
“The Hamilton School District provides one of the best educational values in the state of Wisconsin,” Schounard said. “I am proud of our community for supporting excellence in education and our kids.”
“Among Wisconsin school districts, Hamilton is in the top one percent in achievement and lowest five percent in spending.” Mielke said. “I believe the community recognized that the district has proven to be a responsible steward of taxpayers’ investment in our schools.”
School officials will work with architects to develop blueprints and put the projects out to bid. Groundbreaking is expected this spring with completion projected in fall of 2019.
The Hamilton School Board accepted the Community Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC) final report and recommendation to hold a referendum Feb. 20 seeking voter approval for a new intermediate school, high school classroom renovation- addition projects and associated operational costs. Read more in Nov. 7 School Board Meeting Highlights.
Check out our community flyer with details about the referendum.
The Hamilton School District has created several brief videos to respond to questions people have asked about the Feb. 20 referendum. Please take two minutes to learn about:
- The Cost to Delay
In addition to the need for more classrooms, there is another sense of urgency for completing the projects – avoiding the rising costs of delayed construction and higher interest rates.
- Everything You Need to Know About Voting
Where do I vote? What will be on the ballot? Why are there two questions? Where can I find information about absentee voting and voter registration? All these questions and more are answered in this video.
- Why Operational Costs are Essential
Two questions will be on the ballot Feb. 20 – one for facilities and the other for operational costs. It’s the operational costs that have generated the most discussion and most misinformation. Learn the facts about why operational costs are essential for a functional intermediate school.
- Tax Impact of the Referendum
One misconception is that the school district does not need operational costs because it gets enough revenue from new homes being built. Get a better understanding of school funding and the impact that the referendum could have on local property taxes.
- Hamilton High School Classroom Addition Project
A 15-classroom addition is proposed to handle increased enrollment at Hamilton High School. Learn about the impact of crowded conditions on students and staff and what additional classrooms would provide.
- Applied Engineering & Technology Project
One-third of Hamilton High School students take a class in the Applied Engineering and Technology (AET) area. Much of the facility and equipment is original to the school built in 1962. Listen to what two Hamilton teachers have to say about their vision for AET and what it means for students.
- Capacity Issues at Schools
With current enrollment at 4,860, the district has 1,090 more students than when its last school opened in 1999. Enrollment increased more than twice what was anticipated this year. All schools are at or near capacity.
- Benefits of a Grades 5-6 Intermediate School
Just what is an intermediate school and is it good for kids? Marcy Principal Michele Trawicki and Grade 5 Teacher Callie Lauer discuss what they and a team of district educators learned after visiting two Madison suburban school districts that have had intermediate schools for many years.
- Why the Hamilton Athletic Center was Built
The Hamilton Athletic Center was built to accommodate fitness education classes and was an alternative to building a fieldhouse that would have been 3-4 time more expensive.
- Community Growth and Its Impact on Schools
Recent residential development has accelerated enrollment growth beyond what additions can resolve. Find out what solution is being proposed in the Hamilton School District referendum.
Referendum provides solution to classroom space needs
While many area school districts faced declining enrollments in the last two decades, the Hamilton School District experienced consistent growth. With current enrollment at 4,860, the district has 1,090 more students than when Woodside Elementary School — the last school the district built — opened in 1999. Recent residential developments are accelerating enrollment growth beyond what additions can now resolve. MORE
Citizens to vote on proposed solutions
In response to growing enrollment and an outdated technical education area, the 50-member Community Facilities Advisory Committee recommended that the district seek voter approval for three facilities projects and operational costs. MORE
Click here for conceptual drawings and information about each of the potential projects.
The tax rate increase is projected to be $137 for every $100,000 of property value. In the last five years alone, the district mil rate has dropped $1.85 or $185 per $100,000 of property. If the referendum questions are approved, the new tax rate would be 48 cents lower than it was in 2012. Click on the Tax Calculator to automatically find the tax impact on your property. MORE
Taxpayers receive significant return on investment
Hamilton School District has a strong reputation as a student-centered organization that delivers an excellent, well-rounded education. Wise fiscal decisions have led to a high return on taxpayer investment. MORE
Residential development prompts need for classrooms
This map highlights where nearly 1,500 new single and multi-family units are being developed in the Hamilton School District.
QUESTION NUMBER I
“Shall the Hamilton School District, Waukesha County, Wisconsin be authorized to issue pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $57,400,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of a school building and improvement program consisting of: constructing and equipping a new intermediate school; constructing and equipping an addition to the High School and related remodeling and renovations; and site improvements?”
QUESTION NUMBER II
“Shall the Hamilton School District, Waukesha County, Wisconsin be authorized to exceed the revenue limit specified in Section 121.91, Wisconsin Statutes, by $1,500,000 for the 2019-2020 school year and thereafter, for recurring purposes consisting of operational expenses for the new intermediate school?
Where to vote
The municipalities within the Hamilton School District are listed here. Polling hours at all locations are 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Those wishing to vote by absentee ballot should contact their local municipality.
Findings of the Community Facilities Advisory Committee study of growth, classroom space needs
Here are 10 key considerations that the Community Facilities Advisory Committee reviewed in the spring of 2017. (Please note that the actual enrollments and classroom usage for the 2017-18 school year are higher than what was projected last spring.) Links on each page provide more detailed information.