Referendum Information

Last Updated: 3/24/2021 12:01 AM

Vote April 6 Referendum

Background/Process | The Need | The Solution | The Investment | Informational Materials | News & Media | FAQ's


The Central High School District of Westosha is a community treasure with a rich history of providing excellent opportunities for our students and families.

Thanks to our hardworking students, dedicated staff and supportive community, we’ve built on this tradition and have made some amazing advances in recent years.

While our primary focus will always be to enhance student learning, we also need to finalize a plan to update our school building.

Nearly two years of facility planning, evaluation of a facility study,  and results of a community-wide survey led to the Board of Education’s decision to place a referendum question on the April 6 ballot.



“Shall the Central High School District of Westosha, Kenosha and Racine Counties, Wisconsin be authorized to issue pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $39,600,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of a district-wide school building and facility improvement project consisting of:  safety and security improvements; construction of additions for a cafeteria, gymnasium, locker rooms and classrooms; renovations and facility improvements, including modernizing classrooms and learning spaces, converting the existing cafeteria into an auditorium and the existing locker rooms into a weight room/fitness center; building systems and infrastructure updates; site improvements; and acquisition of furnishings, fixtures and equipment?”

[   ] YES        
[   ] NO



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Referendum Timeline


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  • Upgrade exterior locks and safety features

  • Modify the main entrance to better monitor and control visitor access

  • Revise drop-off/pick-up traffic flow to improve safety

  • Upgrade/add security cameras

  • Add lockable interior doors to partition off school sections and update door locks

  • Improve exterior lighting


Although our school has been well-maintained, some components have reached or exceeded their useful life. Upgrades are needed to:

  • Replace lighting, flooring, ceilings, walls, etc.

  • Remove remaining asbestos

  • Update the plumbing, heating / ventilation, and electrical systems

  • Replace sections of roof


Many spaces in the older parts of the building have remained nearly untouched since the 1950s and 1960s. Due to their age, many do not support today’s approach to teaching and learning and need:

  • Better access to technology

  • Flexible furniture for collaboration

  • Areas for small-group instruction

  • Modern art, choir and F&CS areas

The library, specifically, is used much differently than in previous generations. The current space does not support:

  • Today’s research styles

  • Student collaboration

  • Small-group instruction

  • Access to technology


We have limited gym space, which impacts practices and community use. Needs include:

  • Space for physical education, indoor practices, and athletic events

  • More availability for community programming

  • A gathering space to improve access and flow for school and community events

  • New locker rooms

Because the high school does not have an auditorium, performances are held in the cafeteria or gym. Challenges include:

  • Scheduling conflicts

  • Cafeteria is not an appropriate environment for music/drama events

  • Existing cafeteria is too small to serve the current student population


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Vote April 6 WCHS Referendum

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Site Plan First Floor Image

Site Plan Lower/Upper Floor Image



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THE INVESTMENT | not to exceed $39,600,000


  • Our Board of Education has worked hard to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.

  • The District’s tax mill rate, which is used to calculate property taxes, has dropped over the past seven years.

  • The District’s mill rate is considerably lower than other high school districts in our area.

  • The District has not asked the community to consider a referendum since 2009.


If the referendum is approved by voters, the estimated tax increase will be $59 per $100,000 of equalized property value for a period of 20 years.

Use the tax impact calculator below to calculate the estimated tax impact for your property value.


Fair Market Value: 
Annual Tax Increase: 
Monthly Tax Increase: 


Directions: Enter your Fair Market Value (no commas, ex. 150000) and click on Calculate to see your tax estimates.  


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The referendum will be held on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. You will be able to vote at your local municipality polling location or by absentee ballot. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday April 6. Visit for more voting information.

The District last went to referendum in 2009 and was successful. The referendum was for $7,890,000. The scope of the project focused primarily on upgrading outdoor facilities/fields and constructing Falcon Way, which is the road connecting Highway 83 to the building parking lots.

The proposed solution focuses on four key areas:

  • Enhance Safety & Security

    • Modify the main entrance to better monitor and control visitor access; upgrade/add security cameras and exterior locks; and revise drop-off/pick-up traffic flow.

  • Upgrade Building Infrastructure

    • Replace lighting, flooring, ceilings, and walls; remove asbestos; replace sections of roof; and update plumbing, heating/ventilation, and electrical systems that have exceeded their useful life.

  • Modernize Educational Spaces

    • Create and renovate spaces to provide better access to technology, flexible furniture, small-group instruction spaces, and modern art, choir, and Family & Consumer Science areas.

  • Expand Activities & Performing Arts Areas

    • Add a new gymnasium and cafeteria/commons and renovate the existing cafeteria to become an auditorium to support physical education, performing arts programs, and community events.

Having only one gym creates two challenges for our students and community. First, we do not have adequate space during the day for physical education classes. Three to four classes share one space, making it difficult to offer new and innovative curricular choices for our students. Secondly, having one gym greatly impacts our athletic and activity offerings. Currently, teams are forced to practice at 5:30 a.m. and from 6-8:30 p.m. on a daily basis. Also, if there is a home basketball or volleyball game, the opposite sex team either is restricted to only practicing for 45 minutes before the first game starts or must start practice at 8:30 p.m. after the game has been completed. Lastly, we have student and community interest to offer new activities and intramural sports for students or community members, but Central does not have the space to promote these activities.


Based on a conservative forecasting model created by Robert W. Baird’s public finance division, the tax impact will be $ .59 per $1,000 of property value. The chart below illustrates the impact of the referendum on local property owners.

Scroll up to use the Tax Impact Calculator to calculate the impact on your property.

A comprehensive facility study began 18 months ago, and the District has worked hard to prioritize needs identified and evaluate the plans to ensure they support the future teaching and learning needs of our students and staff. Most parts of the building have not been updated in over 20 years; taking care of these needs today will lower future operational and maintenance costs so that these dollars can be used for educational programming and staffing for our students.

Other reasons why the District is proposing a referendum now:

  • Interest rates are at/near historic lows

  • Construction costs continue to increase

  • No major building renovations or upgrades have been done in 25 years

  • The needs will not go away and cannot be funded within the operating budget

  • 64-percent of all resident respondents stated ‘definitely yes’ or ‘probably yes’ when asked if they would support a $39.6 million referendum to fund the projects

State and federal funding continues to decrease for Central High School (and all Wisconsin schools). The District continues to work hard to maintain and add new programs for students, attract and retain our tremendous Falcon staff, and maintain the high standards that our community expects and deserves. The State of Wisconsin funding formula has made it difficult to keep up with the rising costs needed to operate the school. Case in point: Central High School has seen a reduction in general state aid of over $1,350,000 in the last six years; this represents an aid reduction of over 20 percent. The District’s operational budget is used to fund the educational needs of our students; money is not available for large projects, repairs, or upgrades.

The District has worked extremely hard over the past 18 months to create a balanced and sustainable budget. Reductions in administrative staffing, the creation of a sustainable and fair salary structure for staff, cooperative agreements to share resources with neighboring school districts, and a conscious effort to evaluate all purchases and program enhancements have been implemented within the budget. Even with the unknown state budget and changes to school funding, Central High School has created a budget that is balanced and sustainable for the foreseeable future. Although the District is extremely proud of the work to balance our operational budget, these budget reductions have provided no relief to the building infrastructure or facility needs.


In 2019, the District unanimously voted to conduct a comprehensive facility study. After a comprehensive interview process, Bray Architects was selected to lead this process. As the facility study was nearing completion, the District interviewed three construction manager firms and Scherrer Construction was selected to partner in the completion of the study and provide the costing work that led to the April 2021 referendum question. If the referendum passes, all components of the project (for example, plumbing, electrical, masonry, roofing, etc.) will be bid out and awarded to the lowest responsible bidder.


The District’s mill rate, or tax rate, continues to decrease; in fact, the mill rate has dropped $1.44 per $1,000 of equalized property value in the last eight (8) years. The District’s Mill Rate is below the state average and significantly below other area union high schools. 

See below for a comparison chart.


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For More Information


John Gendron, District Administrator
262.843.2321 ext. 222 




Presentation Link (.pdf)


March 31 6-7 pm - More Information 



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