201 E. Franklin St., Sparta, WI 54656 | Phone: 608-366-3400 | Fax: 608-366-3474
Dear Sparta Area School District Families,

The April 3rd Referendum vote is right around the corner. We feel strongly that every voice matters, and want every voter to be equipped with the knowledge they need to vote.

Throughout this newsletter, you'll find information on the ballot questions, why the referendum is happening now, what our plans are for different potential outcomes of the vote, and more.

If you need an overview of referendum information, please view this video by Superintendent Dr. Amy Van Deuren.
Referendum Articles:
Click the buttons on the right side of this page to view newspaper articles about the referendum.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to attend one of our upcoming information sessions, taking place Thursday, March 29th and Friday, March 30th from noon - 1 p.m. at Culver's. You can also call (608) 366-3400 with questions.

Most importantly, don't forget to vote this Tuesday, April 3rd. We'll see you at the polls!
Ballot Questions
Question 1
Base Plan – $28.5 Million

Shall the Sparta Area School District, Monroe County, Wisconsin be authorized to issue pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $28,500,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of acquiring land, preparing the land for construction and constructing and equipping a new elementary school?

Build a NEW 800-student Elementary School to expand capacity.

  • Acquire 18-23 acres of land
  • Prepare the land for construction
  • Construct a 105,000 SF building
  • Equip the new elementary School
Question 2
Base Plan + Project – $4 Million

Shall the Sparta Area School District, Monroe County, Wisconsin be authorized to issue pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $4,000,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of constructing improvements and updates to Southside School, Maplewood School, Lakeview School and Lawrence-Lawson School?

Improvements to existing Elementary Schools to address ALL capacity needs for foreseeable future.
Why Now?
Enrollment Growth & Overcrowding
Over the past 5 years, we have seen an enrollment increase of 287 students in the Sparta Area School District. This steady growth has pushed enrollment past capacity in all but one of our elementary and intermediate schools. As capacity is reduced, we have repurposed non-traditional spaces for educational use, including an unfinished basement as a temporary library/computer space, and a nurse’s office in a custodial closet.  While these spaces are a short-term stop-gap, they are untenable for our continued needs and basic educational requirements given our current and projected growth rates. 

Educational Inadequacies for Modern Learning
Because student enrollment growth exceeds capacity, we have made concessions in the learning environments of all our schools. We cannot currently support large and small group instruction, flexible student grouping, sensory spaces, and hands-on, active learning to the degree that we should be. In order to provide the most modern learning opportunities to our students, we need to address our space shortages now and give our students room to learn.

Debt Reduction/Fiscal Responsibility
SASD has low overall debt. Because we incur debt judiciously, a portion of your state tax dollars comes back to Sparta for projects like new buildings and building upgrades.  This project would be state funded at somewhere between 67% and 70%.  Without this judicious debt, your state tax dollars would go to benefit other communities and school districts. The current debt for Meadowview Middle School will be paid in 2019. The Meadowview debt is NOT the same as a traditional loan or mortgage; it is state aided. Therefore, when it is paid, taxes will go down somewhat, but only for the non-aided portion of the total debt. Because of our strong financial position, we would receive about 66% state aid on new debt for both referendum questions.

Reallocating Existing Space for Growth
Building a new elementary school and improving current elementary schools would enable us to reallocate space in existing buildings for better capacity distribution.
Referendum Tax Information
What Will my Tax Increase Be?
The estimated maximum mill rate increase is $0.21 (Base Plan) or $0.38 (Base Plan + Project) per $1,000 valuation.*
Why is my Tax Increase Minimized?

  • The District will make the final payment on the 1998 Referendum in 2019.
  • The local cost of the 2018 Referendum will be reduced significantly by state aid reimbursement.
*20-Year borrowing at a rate of 4.25%. Mill rate based on 2017 Equalized Valuation (TID-OUT) of $1,130,046,010 with annual growth of 1.00%. Tax impact estimates provided by Robert W. Baird & Co.
Facility Expansion Plan
New Elementary Bubble Diagram
Timeline of Events
April 3, 2018 Vote Day
April - September 2018 Educational Programming
September 2018 - February 2019 Design Documents and Bidding
February 2019 - August 2020 Construction
August 2020 Estimated Completion