Pulaski Community School District Facilities Projects - Frequently Asked Questions
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- What is the difference between an operating and a capital referendum?
An operating referendum asks permission from voters for the district to exceed the state-imposed revenue cap to generate funds for operating purposes. Operating referendums may be one-time (non-recurring) or recurring (annually for a set dollar amount.) A capital referendum is a one-time referendum that asks voters for permission to add to the district debt in order to pay for facility projects such as additions at growing elementary schools and infrastructure upkeep at existing facilities.
- Is the tax levy increase tied to property value increase?
Mill rate impact is based on annual growth of 2.00% in 2022-2025 and 1.00% thereafter of district property value. The district has significantly decreased both its mill rate and total tax levy over the last 2 years. Since 2019-2020, the mill rate decreased 25.4% from 8.47 to 6.32, and the total tax levy decreased 15.4% from $16,357,771 to $13,834,015.
Tax Levy % Change PCSD Mill Rate State Avg (K-12) 2016-2017 $14,226,383 -7.10% $8.84 $9.97 2017-2018 $14,647,376 3.00% $8.61 $9.79 2018-2019 $15,370,016 4.90% $8.47 $9.46 2019-2020 $16,357,771 6.40% $8.47 $9.37 2020-2021 $15,549,602 -4.90% $7.63 $9.22 2021-2022 $13,834,015 -11.00% $6.32 $8.67
- How does the district’s mill rate compare to neighboring districts?
Pulaski has the second lowest mill rate of neighboring districts.
District Mill RAte Oconto Falls
West De Pere 9.11 Green Bay 9.03 Howard-Suamico 8.99 Gillet 8.97 Seymour 8.49 Bonduel 8.44 Ashwaubenon 7.62 Pulaski 6.32 De Pere 5.83
- How many years will the tax impact from a referendum last if it passes?
The proposed finance plan that has been presented is based on a 20 year bond issuance. Referendum debt does have the ability to be paid off early as the district has previously done. If this is utilized, the referendum debt timeframe could be reduced.
- Why not change boundaries to balance capacity with Hillcrest and Lannoye (or even short term with capacity issues at Hillcrest)?
Downsizing the attendance areas schools that are at capacity would provide some relief to buildings that are at capacity. When reviewing attendance areas, the district evaluates the impact that the change would have on the community, attending families, and district operations. Attendance boundaries have been adjusted previously. We have found that our elementary families are closely tied to their neighborhood schools.
- Why are portable classrooms needed at Hillcrest?
Hillcrest is currently over its capacity limit. Classrooms and small office areas have been tapped out for use in the building. There no longer is open classrooms and requires the need for specialists to share classrooms through creative scheduling with other buildings that share staff. The use of portable classrooms is the most cost effective solution to deal with the immediate need. The district plans on covering the installation of these units within its current budget, and will plan on an annual lease cost of $75,000 through 2025. If renovation and expansion moved forward at Hillcrest, the use of the portable classrooms would be needed during a phased approach to not interrupt learning Additional information on the portable classrooms can be found here.
- How did the growth and projections study factor in private school enrollments?
The consultant’s projections assume private school enrollment of PCSD resident students to remain constant through the projection period.
- How do the growth projections impact funding for the district?
The school funding formula is based on the number of residence pupils. When district membership increases, the district receives an increase in its revenue limit. When property values increase or new properties are developed, the district does not receive an increase in its revenue limit, instead the increase in equalized values would reduce the total share of residents' allocated tax and reduce the effective mill rate.
- What is the need for the athletics addition at the high school?
The facilities assessment determined several issues with current athletic facilities, including:
- Community usage
- Avaiability of space
- Deteriorating pool
- Accessibility of facilities
- Why can't the pool be renovated/revamped at PCMS?
The PCMS pool was constructed in 1975. The pool has many items that would need to be brought up to current code if we were to renovate the pool. Additionally, the current pool size and depth do not support competition swimming or diving. Complete demolition of the entire pool systems/piping, decks, basin, locker rooms, and mechanical systems would be required to retain the current pool. Even after this work, the pool still could not support competition swimming or diving within the current complex.
- Has the district tried other cost saving measures to address its financial needs and what have they been?
Yes, since the inception of revenue limits, a district is required to look at cost savings measures in order to plan for capital projects. The district continues to operate under a balanced budget based on set revenue limits. Personnel expenses (staff wages & benefits) makes up 72% of the district’s expense budget. In 2019, the district established a Capital Improvement Fund. Since then the district has allocated $1,783,200 for items included in its 10-year capital improvement plan. Additionally, the district has saved on debt interest by paying down outstanding debt early. This payoff resulted in a savings of $100,000 while still being able to levy at a lower mill rate
- Why can’t the district complete these projects within its annual operational budget?
With an annual capital improvement budget of $265,000 spread across seven schools and a transportation building, most of the projects on the list are not achievable at all as most projects cannot be done in phases.
What about the other district projects that were surveyed but not included in this referendum?
These projects continue to be a part of the district’s facility master plan. They will continue to be evaluated and will be completed as additional financial resources and community support become available. The district determined the highest priority projects based on staff and community feedback and surveyed support. Overall, respondents agreed with and prioritized the capacity concerns at district elementary schools.
How will the operational question support the district?
Based on the survey results, increasing and reviewing how staff is paid and valued is a major concern. The operational funds will allow the district to create a competitive staff compensation model aimed at obtaining and retaining our valued staff.