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Is it worth it? Survey gauges interest in voting for two school measures

People can request a survey code from the district and give input on a new high school
Posted at 4:34 AM, Nov 15, 2023
  • The Unified School District of De Pere is proposing two measures that would cost taxpayers a total of an extra $419 per $100,000 of property value, if both pass
  • The district sent residents a survey via mail to gauge willingness to vote for the measures in a 2024 election
  • Wednesday, Nov. 15 is the final day residents can fill out the survey
  • If a resident did not receive the survey via mail, they can ask the district for a survey code via email, the district said
  • Video shows a parent, student and the superintendent speaking about the survey and potential changes to the district

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

In De Pere, the school district is asking the community: would you take the tax hit to improve local schools?

We have a closer look at the cost of building a new high school in that area, and what it could mean for your wallet.

If the Unified School District of De Pere sent you something in the mail, they want your input on two referenda they are considering putting on the ballot in 2024. Wednesday is the final day for community members to fill out the survey and make their voice heard.

The numbers on the survey are daunting — $284 and $135 per year, per $100,000 of property value.

"Yeah, this is going to hurt our pocketbooks, and we're going to have to plan for it," Kristin Lyerly said.

But one mother of four current or former De Pere students says it's worth it.

"It's really important that we do, because this is the future of our community," Lyerly said.

The De Pere school district says it needs a capital referendum to build a new high school here, citing schools over capacity. Lyerly's son James, a freshman at DPHS, says the high school is full.

"Passing time are just absolutely packed, packed, packed," James Lyerly said. "And lunch lines [are] long — it can take over five minutes if you come at the peak of lunch."

The other referendum would be operational — helping the district maintain staff class sizes. Kristin Lyerly says she supports that one, too.

"We came here because of the schools," she said.

Superintendent Christopher Thompson says the survey in the mail asks people if they would support one or both measures, and if they are OK with the plan to put the potential new high school next to the current one.

"We want there to be confidence in the school district," Thompson said.

Thompson says people who did not get a survey code in the mail can email the district to ask for one Wednesday, but that is the last day before they start analyzing the results.

"We're looking forward to have that input," Thompson said, "so that we can determine if we have the right information, we're on the right track and when to time such questions." The school district says if a capital referendum passes in 2024, they anticipate about a three-year timeline before new schools would potentially open in 2027.