Survey shows support for school referendum

But public is split on a new auditorium and pool
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

Residents of the Cedar Grove-Belgium School District support spending $21.5 million on elementary, middle and high school upgrades, according to the survey results presented by a well-known school survey company.

School Perceptions of Slinger presented the School Board with results of its survey distributed in October on Nov. 17.

Of 680 responses (26%), 72% replied definitely or probably yes to supporting $21.5 million in upgrades. Sixteen percent of respondents said probably or definitely no.

In a further breakdown, 83% of staff members, 78% of parents and 63% of non-staff and non-parent residents support the plan.

Approval of an expected April referendum would increase the school tax rate by an estimated 44 cents to $9.04 per $1,000 of equalized value. That means the owner of a $200,000 home would pay $88 more in school taxes a year.

At the elementary and middle schools, building systems, such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning, plumbing and electrical systems original to the 60-year-old building would be replaced. A new traffic flow system would be implemented to improve safety, and a music room would be added.

The middle school kitchen would be upgraded, and the band and gym bleachers would be updated to Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

The pool and auditorium would also be upgraded.

Those projects total $14.5 million.

At the high school, the technical education and family and consumer science areas would get improvements and the roof and floors would be replaced. New water heaters, boilers and ventilation systems would be installed, and internet infrastructure would be updated.

That work costs $7 million.

Adding a new auditorium at the high school, which would replace the one at the middle school, at an estimated additional tax rate increase of $152 a year for a $200,000 home received less support.

Only 37% of residents agreed with that plan, while 39% said no. Of staff members, 48% said yes and 30% said no. Forty-seven percent of parents said yes and 29% said no. Twenty-six percent of non-parent, non-staff members said yes and 51% said no.

Replacing the outdated middle school pool with one at the high school that would raise school taxes by $156 a year for a $200,000 home also didn’t receive as much support.

Forty-four percent of residents said yes while 36% said no. Fifty-six percent of staff members liked the plan while 25% did not, and 58% of parents supported the idea while 23% did not. Thirty percent of non-parent, non-staff residents agreed to a new pool while 49% did not.

Forty-nine percent of the survey respondents were ages 35 to 54. Those 65 and older made up 25% of the responses, and those 55 to 64 were 15% of the respondents.

Fifty-four percent of respondents have children in school. Ninety-two percent or respondents live in the district and 85% are not staff members.

Thirty-five percent of respondents live in Cedar Grove, 29% in the Village of Belgium, 18% in the Town of Holland and 10% in the Town of Belgium.

The district has Buildings and Grounds Committee meetings set for Dec. 15 and Jan. 12 to determine the next step. To hold an April referendum, a resolution must be approved by late January.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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