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With major facility upgrades being considered for the Sauk Prairie School District, locals are being asked to provide feedback.

Residents of the school district can expect a survey in the mail the week of Oct. 14 asking for their views on a potential referendum.

“We contracted with them to help us get engaged with our community’s feelings with investing in our (district),” said School Superintendent Jeff Wright. “And what cost tolerance there is.”

Completed surveys can be mailed in, dropped off at school district buildings or answers can be submitted online. Participants are given a unique code to ensure accuracy. Multiple codes may be requested if more than one adult resident of an address would like to submit survey answers online.

Assistance is available for those who would like the survey in Spanish.

The survey will ask participants whether they support looking into investment in school facility upgrades.

Plans for updating the school buildings include safety improvements for the high school such as a fire control system, building zoning capability, improved traffic flow, controlled access for shipping and receiving, air quality enhancements and separating community and student use during the day.

The athletic fields, which are used for a host of activities ranging from sports to marching bands, are currently overused according to the presentation. The recommended rate of use is 70 events per field per year. The Sauk Prairie School District’s fields are currently seeing 191 events per field per year.

Under the new plan, the school stadium would be shifted closer to the middle school and allow an expansion of new facilities in the northern area it currently occupies. A new aquatic facility on the northwest end of the school would also be constructed with a competitive pool and a recreational pool.

Merrimac Charter School, which is beyond capacity, would also have a new kitchen and bathrooms put in while making space for students so all classes would be brought into one building. Currently, 4k is held in the church basement next door to the school.

The Sauk Prairie School District’s mill rate is currently $9.51, which translates to $951 in yearly taxes on a $100,000 home. The median price of a home in the Sauk Prairie School District is currently $349,450. For a home of that value, a $9.51 mill rate would translate to $3,323 in yearly taxes.

The Sauk Prairie School District’s mill rate is lower than it has been in the past. During the 2014-15 school year, it was $10.49.

Lisa Voisin of Baird Public Finance accounted for three specific sums the school district may request to borrow in a referendum: $45 million, $65 million and $85 million.

If the district borrows $45 million, the mill rate is projected to increase $0.15, or $45 annually on a $300,000 home.

If the district borrows $65 million, the mill rate is projected to increase $0.80, or $240 annually on a $300,000 home.

If the district borrows $45 million, the mill rate is projected to increase $1.44, or $432 annually on a $300,000 home.

The survey was produced by School Perceptions, a Slinger based educational research firm. School Perceptions collects data through community surveys and uses those data to help school districts make strategic decisions.

“I have been really impressed with the thoughtfulness and detail the district has used in approaching this project,” said School Perceptions President Bill Foster.

Foster, who said he attends about 100 school board meetings every year, not all communities approach potential referendums with the same care as Sauk Prairie.

“We’re excited about the direction the district is heading in, but we also have some needs,” Wright said.

You can reach Jake Ekdahl on Twitter @JakeaEkdahl or contact him at 608-697-6353

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