Referendum 2022 FAQ

1. What question will be on the ballot on November 8, 2022?
BE IT RESOLVED by the School Board of the Green Bay Area Public School District, Brown County, Wisconsin that there shall be issued pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $92,605,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of a school facility improvement project consisting of: district-wide safety, security, building infrastructure and capital maintenance improvements; renovations and facility updates to secondary schools; construction of an addition at certain district buildings; districtwide athletic facility and site improvements; and acquisition of furnishings, fixtures and equipment.

2. How will the District be addressing changing enrollments in schools? Will closing schools be an option?
The District has retained ATS&R to conduct a 10-year Facilities Master Plan. As part of the plan, a comprehensive demographic study is also being conducted. ATS&R will be bringing forward solutions to address various aspects of the facilities, such as enrollment, instructional space, mechanical systems, etc. The District will hold community engagement sessions to discuss the various options to address enrollment and facilities inequities in the District.

3. Why can’t the District maintain its facilities from its annual budget?
When revenue limits were imposed in 1993, the District, like many school districts in the state, began deferring maintenance in order to keep funds in the classroom. The District currently budgets $3.5 million for building maintenance. These funds cover fixing leaky roofs, patching asphalt, emergency repairs, and other maintenance projects. If the District were to increase the annual maintenance budget, this would result in fewer resources for the classroom.

4. Why can’t the artificial turf and stadium improvements be made through fundraising/sponsorships?
The District has tried unsuccessfully to raise the funds for the artificial turf for our high schools. The District even partnered with a fundraising firm, which was not able to raise enough funds for the projects. Raising funds for a multi-high school district is much harder than for a one high school community.

5. Isn’t artificial turf more likely to cause injuries?
Studies have shown that the quality of the surface has more to do with injuries than whether it is grass or artificial turf. Artificial turf provides a more consistent playing field, minimizing the risk of player injuries. 

6. Why is the referendum not addressing staffing in buildings, additional social workers, and mental health services for students/families?
The District is currently in the process of developing methodologies that accurately align FTE with the budget. In addition, in order to use referendum dollars for staffing, the District would need to seek voter approval for an operational referendum, which must be a separate question on the ballot. The District currently has an operational referendum in place, which was passed in 2017 for 10-years. 

7. Where is the money coming from, when you say no tax rate increase?
The District has historically and intentionally structured its debt to allow for the opportunity to address significant facilities' needs through a referendum every 3-5 years with minimal impact to taxpayers. The District will be retiring debt, providing for an opportunity to address some immediate facilities’ needs with no impact to the mill (taxation) rate. Please view the chart below to see how the new debt would be structured, allowing the mill rate to decrease to $8.24 per $1,000 of fair market value. 

mill rate chart

8. Why is a new middle school or high school not being considered on the east side of the District?

The question of whether or not a new middle or high school should be considered on the east side of the district will be addressed through the Facilities Master Plan and the resulting community engagement session to address solutions. 

9. Did the 2014 referendum include similar requests as this referendum?
The 2014 referendum addressed aging and inefficient HVAC systems at Franklin Middle School, Washington Middle School, Chappell Elementary, Fort Howard Elementary, Nicolet Elementary and Tank Elementary. 

10. Why were COVID funds not used for facility improvements?
COVID funds (ESSER funds) are not provided directly to the District. Rather the District must submit permissible claims to the Department of Public Instruction for reimbursement. The District’s use of ESSER funds can be viewed on our COVID expenditures dashboard.

11. Is it true that city playgrounds next to schools do not allow children to play on the city playgrounds for insurance reasons? 
The District has a Joint Facility Use Agreement with the City of Green Bay. Where city parks are adjacent to a school, the District may choose to use the park for recess or physical education. However, in schools such as MacArthur, where the playground area and the city park are in separate areas around the school, the park might not be used due to lack of recess supervisors to cover both areas.

12. What efforts did the District take to address ventilation needs with respect to COVID at all schools?
The School District has upgraded to a higher Merv rating on our HVAC air filters. We increased from a Merv 8 filter to a Merv 12 filter. The Merv 12 filters filter 1-3 microns at 85% efficiency. We also increased the ventilation within our buildings. Outside air was increased during the day and we flush all interior spaces for four hours before each school day and for two hours at the end of the school day.

13. Why is the West stadium owned by the City?
The Del Marcelle family deeded the property to the city when the city and the school district were one entity. The deed requires the property to stay in the ownership of the City. If the City were to cease owning the property, the deed states that it reverts back to the family.

14. Have all the projects from the last referendum been completed?
Yes, all of the projects from the 2017 referendum have been completed and will be completely paid for by the end of 2022.

15. Why do Preble’s softball fields not have restrooms?
Preble’s softball fields are owned by the city of Green Bay. The fields are built on a former landfill, which is why there are no water or sewer lines to the property. 

16. Why is the focus on secondary schools, when there are facility needs at the elementary level?
The District is aware of the needs within our elementary schools, especially on the west side of the district. Before making any significant upgrades/improvements to the elementary schools, the District would like to complete the ATS&R Facility Master Plan process, which will provide solutions to address the enrollment and facility needs at the elementary level.

17. Why is the District asking to replace the grass turf with artificial turf at Preble and West?
The District is looking to replace the grass turf with artificial turf for the following benefits:

Increased access: switching to artificial turf increases the amount of hours the turf can be used from 1,500 hours on grass turf to 15,000+ on artificial turf. Expanded use of fields beyond school activities include use of the fields by middle and elementary schools, the City Park and Recreation programs, community programs (e.g., semi-pro clubs, Special Olympics, youth camps, Packer Youth Football Camp), etc. 

Increased revenue: Artificial turf enables the schools to host WIAA events, which means increased revenue through concessions, booster club sales and ticket sales. 

Reduced costs: Artificial turf reduces costs for mowing, watering, aeration, fertilizing, irrigation system repairs, surface repairs, re-striping, labor and fuel.

Safety: An independent five-year study by Dr. Michael C. Meyers of the Department of Health and Human Development at Montana State University of competitive high school football found 55% fewer neural injuries, 33% fewer 3rd degree injuries, 45% less time lost to long-term injuries, and 35% less time lost to short-term injuries.

Updated 7-26-22
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