FACT TEAM Meeting #2

FACT TEAM Meeting #2
Posted on 02/03/2021
This is the image for the news article titled FACT TEAM Meeting #2On Tuesday, February 2, 2021, the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District’s Facilities Advisory Committee Team (FACT) held their second meeting in the six-month long facility planning process to understand the current condition of all District buildings.  More than 65 community representatives were present for the meeting via Zoom, the digital conferencing application. The team is composed of parents, District staff, and members of the community. 

Topics covered included an overview of school finance, enrollment analysis/projections, the capital improvement plan/budget, and video tours of the intermediate school and high schools. The most important discussion was regarding the kind of learning environments our students and community deserve.

Mike Clark, Director with Baird, presented on public financing and how to address the district’s unique needs through financing solutions such as debt management, capital finance planning, alternative sourcing solutions, and public debt issuance and monitoring. “We are exploring all potential financing solutions options, along with all potential building solutions options, in order to create the most effective and responsible plan for the future of our District,” stated Caitlin Windler, Director of Finance & Operations for West Allis-West Milwaukee School District.  

Mark Roffers of MDRoffers, a School District Planning Consultant, updated the FACT members on the changing community and student enrollment projections. He covered topics including: demographic and housing change statistics, projections and trends for the District and its neighborhoods; how demographic and housing change projections translate into 4K-12 student enrollment projections; enrollment projections through the year 2035; how to utilize projected enrollment related to school capacity to aid during facility planning.

“Over the coming months, the FACT Team will work to determine solutions to address the facilities challenges outlined in the District’s Facilities Study and Existing Building Capacity Analysis, ultimately making a formal recommendation to the Board of Education in June of this year,” said Superintendent, Marty Lexmond. “Between now and early June, the FACT Team will work alongside District administration, CG Schmidt and Bray Architects to develop numerous options to address these needs in a cost effective manner before issuing their final recommendation to the Board of Education.”

February 2, 2021 - Meeting Summary 
The FACT TEAM is charged with making recommendations to the West Allis-West Milwaukee Board of Education regarding the following two questions:

How can schools be renovated and/or replaced and/or consolidated in ways that inspire and shape learning for the future?

How can we do this in ways that are cost effective for our community?

The meeting, which was led by Bray Architects, CG Schmidt, and District leaders, began with a School Finance 101 presentation that was presented alongside R.W. Baird. The committee then heard from MDRoffers to learn about the District’s projected enrollment, and how that data impacts future facility planning. Committee members also viewed two videos that highlighted the intermediate and high school needs across the District. The meeting concluded with a presentation on the Capital Improvement Plan. Key takeaways from the meeting can be found below.

Meeting #2 Takeaways
School Finance
Approximately 83% of the District’s revenue comes from the revenue limit formula.
A school district experiencing declining enrollment will also experience a decline in revenue over time due to the revenue limit formula.
The District’s historical mill rates were reviewed, as well as what this rate means for taxpayers.
The District’s credit rating has increased significantly over the last two years. The District’s current S&P rating is now categorized in the high grade as a AA-.
The District’s improved credit rating allowed the District to both refinance and prepay existing debt in the Fall of 2020, reducing interest costs and thus saving both taxpayer and general operating dollars.

Enrollment Projections
MDRoffers Consulting analyzed recent changes and trends in enrollment, demographics, home sales, and housing development in the WAWM School District.
MDRoffers projects a decrease of 283 resident students in grades 4K-12 between 2020 and 2035, with decreases occurring in the elementary and intermediate school grade levels and increases occurring in the high school grade levels.
MDRoffers projects that all but three of the District's buildings will operate between 50% and 67% of their maximum capacity through 2035, with a couple schools above and below this capacity range.
Given these projections, it is reasonable for the District to consider school consolidation over the next 10-15 years, particularly at the elementary school level.

Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)
Improvements identified in the CIP are related to safety and security, maintenance/replacement of building infrastructure and building systems, and compliance issues related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The CIP does not include improvements related to new furniture nor renovation to support educational needs and today’s teaching and learning.
The overall CIP total to address the identified improvements is $248.6 million.

Next Steps

During the next meeting on February 23, 2021, FACT will be introduced to master plan parameters and begin reviewing/discussing long-range facility pathways.

Intermediate School Video HERE
High Schools Video HERE