(updated September 17, 2018)

Frequently Asked Questions

Property ownership & agriscience Neighborhood property values Financing academics
1998 Referendum history Student athletes Storm-water runoff
2014 Referendum history Number of referendum questions Taxes and projected Mill Rate


Please read the following questions, or feel free to email us with other questions you may have.

Q1. Who owns the 9.2 acres that the baseball and softball diamonds would be built on?

A1. Big Foot High School. BFHS purchased the land in 2003 and the agricultural restriction was formally removed from the deed.  BF purchased that land for addressing future needs.  The FFA Alumni have been allowed to farm it since that time with proceeds being returned to students.

Q2. Do agriscience students farm the land behind the high school that is proposed for the softball and baseball fields?

A2:  No.  The land is farmed by alumni only.  Student learning will NOT be affected by the proposed facility.

Q3. When was the last referendum addressing outdoor athletics?

A3. The last referendum was in 1998 for $14,975,000. This was a comprehensive project at the time which updated most school spaces, as well as constructed both east and west wings of the school. Certain areas, including the auditorium, were not included in the project. The referendum did include refurfacing the track. Now 20+ years old, many of these athletic facilities need updating.

The final payment retiring the debt service for the 1998 referendum was made on March 1, 2014.

Q4. Did everything from 2014 referendum get accomplished?

A4. YES. There were a few items that were "pulled" from the referendum before the vote because of cost factors. With diligent oversight by school leadership, the combined 2014 Referendum and energy saving funding (ACT 32) we were able to accomplish a LARGE list of items. Items included:

  • Roof membrane installation and vent repair and replacement in select areas.
  • Tuck pointing
  • Replacement of rusted outside doors
  • LED lighting upgrades virtually everywhere (outdoor and indoor) and related control software
  • Wiring upgrades to the outdoor scoreboard and stadium lights
  • Remodeled concession building
  • Remodeled stadium washrooms
  • Resurfaced gym floors in both gyms
  • New audio in both gyms
  • Air conditioning in the east gym
  • Energy-saving HVAC improvements
  • ADA compliant bathroom off the tech-ed classroom
  • Installation of kitchen non-slip flooring
  • Installation of drain tile and reconstruction of the back swale
  • Safety access road with security gates along backside of school
  • Expanded agriscience parking lot
  • Spot repaired asphalt and seal-coated all lots
  • Set-back sidewalk from Devils Lane for pedestrian safety and handle snow loading
  • Upgraded computers and software
  • Installed smartboards for remaining classrooms
  • Upgraded servers and support hardware for optimal performance
  • Upgraded technology education curriculum and equipment
  • Hired 2 teachers total for math and science which addressed unfunded state mandates
  • Hired an interventionist for at-risk students
  • Complete auditorium remodel (acoustics, lighting, sound, seats, and other amenities)

Q5. I heard the auditorium remodel went way over budget.

A5. The auditorium ended up being $300,000 under budget due to diligent school leadership as well as the way Scherrer Construction and Nexus leveraged contract bidding. Meetings with the Building Committee, school leadership and contractors occurred weekly to ensure the project and finances were on track.

Q6. What got pulled from the 2014 Referendum? I thought there was some athletic "stuff" in there?

A6. There were two primary items that got pulled from the scope of the 2014 Referendum: constructing a salt shed and re-crowning the football field.

As school leadership got deeper into discussions for a future outdoor athletic project, it did not make sense to re-crown the field at that time. It was clear that it would be more cost advantageous to include the football field in the outdoor athletic comprehensive plan.

The salt shed construction contract was passed by the School Board, but was put on hold when the outdoor facility project study began.  Being fiscally responsible, the district did not want to spend $60,000 on a shed that was going to be obsolete in 2 years.

Funds not used for those two items were used to install a membrane system over additional sections of the school roof and address safety concerns such as the pedestrian sidewalk on Devils Ln. and the rear access road.

Q7. I hear my property values will go down if this complex is built.

A7. Communities & neighborhoods' property values throughout the United States have been shown to respond differently to school improvements. That said, we can refer to research from a white paper assembled by D'Aprile Properties as well as peer-reviewed studies of how parks* and outdoor athletic complexes have generally affected residential properties.

  • "Three recent studies find that there's a [property value] benefit 'ring' around the facility... The benefit lessens the further you get from the facility." BFHS Athletic Facility Real Estate Perspective, D'Aprile Properties White Paper

  • Video summary from Margaret Labus, Realtor at D'Aprile Properties https://youtu.be/9rZ1Hz9vdHU
  • 80% of case studies have empirically shown the proximity to a passive or developed park has a positive impact on property values. These benefits have been shown to have an affect on property values up to three blocks away. (Crompton, 2001) full study
  • “Our results indicate that... passing a referendum causes immediate, sizable increases in home prices, implying a willingness to pay on the part of marginal homebuyers of $1.50 or more for each $1 of capital spending. These effects do not appear to be driven by changes in the income or racial com- position of homeowners, and the impact on test scores appears to explain only a small portion of the total housing price effect.” (Cellini, Ferreira, & Rothstein, 2010) full study

  • "The results suggest that the presence of sports facilities in Columbus have a significant positive distance-decaying effect on surrounding house values..." (Feng & Humphreys, 2008) full study
*We've included park economic impact studies here because this outdoor complex is essentially a developed open space similar to a developed park.

Q8. How many students are athletes at Big Foot?

A8. 61.6% of students participated in at least one sport in the 2016-2017 school year. More details

Q9. Why does there need to be two separate referendum questions?

A9. A school district capital borrowing referendum (the outdoor athletic complex) and an operational/revenue limit referendum (School Resource Officer, technology improvements, maintenance of the improved athletic facility, etc.) must be done as two separate ballot questions.  A school district capital borrowing referendum must meet the requirements of Section 67.05(6a) of the Wisconsin Statutes, and an operational/revenue limit referendum must meet the requirements of Section 121.91(3) of the Wisconsin Statutes.  In addition, a ballot question must be for a single purpose.  A capital borrowing referendum and an operational/revenue limit referendum are two separate and distinct purposes which must be done as separate ballot questions.

Q10. With the addition of the two tennis courts and parking lot, what considerations are there for runoff?

A10. Storm water management is part of the plan. The existing swale runs east to west starting at the tennis courts which would slowly carry storm water. In the 2014 referendum, additional capacity was added to the swale - including additional drain tile, new culverts, and regrading. At this time it is unlikely additional capacity will be required, but a small retention area could be added near the discus area. Funds have been designated in the referendum for a retention contingency.

Q11. Are there any funds in this referendum that will be applied towards academics? 

A11. Yes. Specifically, we have an operational referendum request not to exceed $350,000 per year for three years for a school safety officer, classroom technology improvements, and building improvements.  These will all add to improved and safer educational environment for our students. 

Q12. How much currently is spent on academics & athletics? 

A12. Academics is approximately 84.5% of our overall budget, 11 percent is buildings and grounds, and 4.5% is spent on athletics.

Q13. How does the Big Foot High School mill rate compare to the rest of the state? 

A13. The state average mill rate for a Union High School District (similar to Big Foot) is $3.60. Big Foot's mill rate for 2017-2018 is $3.37. If both referendum questions pass, our mill rate is forecasted to be $3.22 in the 2018-2019 school year.

Q14. How is it possible for the mill rate to drop if the school's two referendums pass? 

A14. The levy from 2014 referendum is expiring at the completion of the 2018-2019 school year. The levy dollars used to address the two 2018 referendum questions is less per year than the 2014 referendum.

Q15. How do I calculate my taxes I pay to Big Foot HS? 

A15. MILL RATE X ASSESED VALUE of PROPERTY / $1000 = Taxes to Big Foot HS

Example for a house valued at $150,000

$3.22 (Big Foot Mill Rate for 2018-2019) X $150,000 (property value) / $1000 = $483.00 (taxes paid to Big Foot HS)