Referendum work stays on schedule

Most school upgrades expected to be completed when classes resume in fall
By 
DAN BENSON
Ozaukee Press Staff

With the end of the school year near, the pace of construction in the Northern Ozaukee School District will pick up, in the hope that most of the work related to the $14.95 million referendum will be completed when students return in the fall.

“Summer will accelerate the work even further. Overall, the weather was favorable until the last few weeks, but it has not held up progress,” Supt. Dave Karrels said. 

Construction is currently underway on a cafeteria addition to the high school. This month, concrete for the 7,500-square-foot floor of the cafeteria was poured, exterior brick was added and roofing work began.

“The exterior and interior of the cafeteria will be completed over the summer and ready for the new school year,” Karrels said.

The cafeteria is part of a 16,000-square-foot addition to the east side of Ozaukee High School that will house the new cafeteria and kitchen to serve all three schools. During spring break, crews removed much of the asbestos from ceiling tiles around the school.

Karrels said “a significant amount of work has taken place inside of our buildings, including ongoing work to address heating, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing and roofing needs,” as well as painting, flooring and lighting updates in classrooms and hallways.

Other work planned for the summer includes converting the existing cafeteria into a theater and fine arts center and pouring new concrete parking lots.

School district voters approved a $14.95 million construction referendum in 2018.

Last month, the School Board voted to borrow the final $5.45 million for expenses related to the referendum at an interest rate of 2.87%, far below the 4.25% estimated at the time the referendum was passed.

The first loan was for $9.5 million, approved in August 2018. Because of the lower interest rate, the impact on future tax rates is expected to be lower than projected.

The referendum had projected the tax rate for debt to be $2.37 per $1,000 of equalized valuation. Now it’s expected to be about $2.35 for the 2020-2021 school year and drop to about $1.98 beginning in 2031-2032 until the final payment is made in 2038-39.

The tax rate could drop even further since the  referendum also assumed zero growth in equalized value. Last year, equalized valuation in the district grew 4.1% to $631.2 million.

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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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