School Board votes to proceed with referendum

Posted December 19, 2017

The Plymouth School District Board of Education voted unanimously Dec. 19 to proceed with a referendum to update school facilities, as recommended by respondents to a recent community survey.

About 70 percent of survey respondents advised the School Board to pursue a referendum, and about 62 percent said they would support or probably would support borrowing $31.9 million to fund proposed updates.

“We thank everyone who took the time to share feedback on the survey,” said board member Bob Travis, chairman of the board’s Facilities Sub-committee, which has studied the issue since summer and also recommended proceeding with a referendum. “We’re seeing strong community support for these projects, and we have a good financial climate to consider undertaking them at this time.”

The referendum would be on the April 3 general election ballot. The question approved by the board asks voters if they support borrowing $31.9 million to make improvements to Plymouth High School, Fairview Elementary School and Parkview Elementary School that will improve security, expand learning opportunities, and provide better access to education and wellness for students and community members.

Preliminary figures suggest the tax impact would be $95 for every $100,000 of property value for the next 21 years. The district’s mill rate dropped to $8.13 per $1,000 of valuation this year – the third year in a row to see a decline – and remains one of the lowest in the county and among the lowest 25 percent in the state.

If voters approve the referendum, design work would begin immediately and all projects could be completed in time for the start of the 2019-20 school year.

The district began a thoughtful study of its facilities in 2016. The existing facilities have served the community well for generations, and the district has done an excellent job of maintaining them with its given resources. Looking toward the future, the district wants to be sure it has what it needs to continue helping all students become their best through successful learning experiences.

The community survey was conducted in late October and early November by School Perceptions, an independent Wisconsin firm with expertise in school district surveys. About 1,500 responses were received, which represents a very good response rate of about 20 percent, and respondents showed support for all proposed projects, according to School Perceptions.

The district has identified three key areas for improvement:

  • Improved safety and security
    • More secure, convenient visitor access to School, District and Community Ed & Rec offices.
    • Safer traffic patterns for school buses and passenger vehicles.
  • Expanded learning opportunities for high school students
    • Remodeled Science Facilities, which are original to the building, with modernized labs to provide a strong foundation in support of the Science & Technology Center and the Food Science & Agriculture Center.
    • Enhanced Culinary Arts Kitchens to keep up with increased demand for these classes.
    • New Health Careers Curriculum, including the addition of pre-nursing and medical terminology classes, in response to expected shortages in health-care fields.
  • Better access to education, wellness and recreation for our students and community
    • Updated Physical Education Facilities, with more space for year-round, indoor activities to provide more variety for students and more opportunities for community use.
    • Improved Food Service Facilities with modern kitchen equipment and updated cafeterias.

Referendum question

This referendum question will appear on the April 3 ballot:
“Shall the Plymouth Joint School District, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin be authorized to issue pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $31,900,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of a school building and improvement program consisting of:  security improvements, construction of academic and athletic additions, remodeling and site improvements at the High School; security improvements, construction of gymnasium, cafeteria and academic additions, remodeling, roof replacement and HVAC upgrades at Parkview Elementary and Fairview Elementary Schools; district-wide security and communications system upgrades; and acquiring related fixtures, furnishings and equipment?”

Learn more:

Visit the District Facilities Planning webpage.
Learn about plans to enhance the PHS science curriculum.
Learn about plans to enhance the PHS health careers curriculum.
Learn about plans to enhance the district physical education curriculum.
Learn about plans to enhance the Food Service facilities.