On April 7, 2020, voters in the Mequon-Thiensville School District approved a $55.7 million referendum to address facility needs across the Mequon-Thiensville School District. The measure was approved by a margin of 58% yes to 42% no.
“This bold step forward by our community will serve our school district and all residents well into the future,” said MTSD Superintendent of Schools Matthew Joynt, Ph.D. “We are pleased to add to the vitality of our community through our strong public schools. The engagement throughout this process reaffirms our community’s support and desire to grow with us.”
The district will now begin developing plans and timelines for construction projects. Because construction will touch every building and program in some way, projects will be phased to cause as little disruption to students as possible.
In an ever-changing environment, it is important to monitor all aspects of our educational program, including physical environments.
We began a process to thoroughly assess facilities and learning environments in fall 2018 in order to develop a long-range plan for facilities. Environments were analyzed for their capacity to support projected enrollment growth; provide flexible, safe and secure environments; support community recreation and athletic usage; and manage ongoing infrastructure maintenance needs.
The school district partnered with Eppstein Uhen Architects to help facilitate the development of this all-encompassing 10-year framework that aligns the organization’s current reality, impending forecasts, strategic direction, and the community’s priorities.The plan serves as a long-range framework aligning the organization’s current reality, impending forecasts, strategic direction, and the community’s priorities.
The MTSD Board of Education approved the Long Range Master Plan: A Framework for Our Future in July 2019.
The plan highlights strengths in facilities, including well-maintained buildings. The district has a maintenance program in place to prioritize and address ongoing facility maintenance and building conditions. The report also identifies strengths in safety and security and technology infrastructure.
The plan also identifies challenges, including projections that point to inadequate classroom space to meet expected enrollment growth at the elementary level, and site circulation and traffic flow challenges.
At the conclusion of efforts to develop a comprehensive long-range master plan for facilities, the district convened a Community Task Force to prioritize the needs identified in the plan and explore next steps.
Based on a charge from the school board, the task force was asked to establish priorities and make recommendations to administrators and the school board regarding identified facilities issues.
Community Task Force Co-Chairs Stephanie Clark and Peter Stone presented the report to the board in November 2019. The principal recommendations indicate that the district should take action to address overcapacity at its elementary schools and scheduling capacity issues at its middle schools, improve accessibility for those with mobility impairments, and improve traffic safety at all campuses.
Following the work of the task force, Mequon-Thiensville School District stakeholders were asked to review the district’s facility needs, consider possible solutions, and provide input and feedback via a survey. The anonymous survey was open from November 19 through December 4, 2019.
Information from the survey was used by district leaders and the Board of Education to examine solutions that meet district needs, are financially responsible, and move the community forward.
On Monday, January 27, 2020, the Mequon-Thiensville School District Board of Education voted unanimously to place a referendum question on the ballot for Tuesday, April 7, 2020.
The board approved the measure after reviewing an administrative recommendation that was informed by several components, including the development of a long-range master plan for facilities, the work of a Community Task Force and the results of a community-wide survey.
The question on the ballot asked residents of Mequon and Thiensville to approve $55.7 million in general obligation bonds to address capacity concerns due to enrollment growth by funding additions and renovated spaces, as well as enhancing district-wide safety and security.
The referendum would have a tax impact of $30 per year on every $100,000 of equalized property value.
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