The Lake Geneva-Genoa City Union High School District (Badger) and the Lake Geneva Jt. #1 District are seeking citizen approval of three referenda questions on the April 6, 2021 ballot. Approval of the three questions will successfully address future economic shortfalls in both districts and facility updates and large maintenance needs at Badger High School. The three referenda questions have been structured in such a way that, if approved, our tax rate will not increase.
Revenue Limit Relief
Both Badger High School and the Lake Geneva Joint #1 Districts have a question on the ballot that states: Shall the Lake Geneva-Genoa City Union High School District (also Lake Geneva Joint #1 School District) be authorized to exceed the state-imposed revenue limit by $750,000 beginning with the 2021-2022 school year, for recurring purposes consisting of ongoing operational expenses, technology and safety upgrades and to maintain current educational programming?
Both the Badger and Lake Geneva Joint #1 Districts have seen a very significant loss in revenue over the past ten years much of which related to enrollment decline and the state’s formula for funding schools. Badger has lost $1,700,000 of revenue over that period of time, while Joint #1 has lost $3,100,000 over the same period.
The districts have been forced to make significant cuts over the past two years with the Badger District cutting over $600,000 from the current year’s budget and Joint #1 cutting $1,500,000 during the 2019-2020 school year. Most of these cuts were related to personnel reductions that right-sized the districts because of the decline in enrollment.
With our districts being right-sized we now face the reality that our costs continue to increase for the basic expenses of running schools. Things like heat and electricity, transportation and basic maintenance costs continue to rise while our revenues continue to diminish. By approving the annual $750,000 revenue limit override, the districts will be able to maintain current educational programming and appropriate class sizes, retain staff and keep current with technology and safety needs.
Badger Facility Needs
The Badger District will also have a second question on the ballot that states: Shall the Lake Geneva-Genoa City Union High School District be authorized to issue general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $6,000,000 for the purpose of paying the cost of renovations, capital maintenance and updates at the school facilities and site, including safety improvements and technology infrastructure updates, and acquisition of furnishings, fixtures and equipment?
The $6 million bond issue will address major roofing needs, technology infrastructure and upgrades to the 1958 portions of Badger High School. The roofs that will be replaced are over 20 years old and the 1958 upgrades will be to the cafeteria/union and kitchen, original main gym bleachers and basketball court flooring. In addition, the lobby area at Badger will be remodeled and secured to maintain and improve upon a safer and more secure environment.
The auditorium will also see improvements made to the sound system and lighting, and energy-efficient LED lighting will be completed. These upgrades will address current Building Code issues and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issues throughout the 1958 portions of the building.
What Does This Cost the Taxpayer?
There will be no tax rate increase for the citizens of our community. Our Boards of Education have been eyeing this year as the most opportune time to go back to our taxpayers to address our needs for several years. Because the Badger School District has just retired a sizable amount of debt, it places us in a favorable position to be able to pass these referenda questions on April 6, 2021, with No Tax Rate Increase for our residents.
In conclusion, we hope that you will vote on April 6, 2021. The three questions which allow Badger High School and the Lake Geneva Joint #1 District to exceed the revenue limit by $750,000 a year and Badger to borrow $6 million for upgrades will help us to maintain quality educational programs and serve as good stewards of our physical facilities.