On Your Side

Plan for dome schools may cost taxpayers, but could save money in the long term

CREATED Mar 15, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - It would be a first of its kind in the state of Wisconsin, if it passes. Johnson Creek schools are looking to build domes for their new school, but not all taxpayers are on board with the design or cost.

“One of the things our board heard in the last referendums was that you really need to think outside of the box, you need to look for energy efficiency,” said Dr. Mike Garvey, Johnson Creek Schools Superintendent.

An architect told district leaders about the idea to build domes, so they visited the only other dome school in the Midwest, in Grand Meadow, Minnesota.

The superintendent argues the current building is aging and has already been remodeled and expanded several times.

“The high school is definitely in need of repair,” said parent Cathie Joseph.

It’s the nearly $22 million dollar price tag that has some taxpayers saying no.

“I understand the need, but they’ve gotta find a cheaper way to do it,” said parent Brian Holcomb.

The tax increase on homeowners would be significant. If you own a $100,000 house, your taxes would go up nearly $300 a year.

Tax Impact on homeowners:

$100,000 home $276 a year $23 a month
$150,000 home $414 a year $34 a month
$200,000 home $552 a year $46 a month

“It’s a big tax increase, especially since many people in the district have not recovered economically,” said teacher and former school board member, Christine Yelich.

According to the district, the unique design would actually save taxpayers money. It would be about $6.6 million dollars cheaper than a traditional building, and would save money on energy.

“Cost is a little high, but education is more important,” said grandparent Karen Olszak.

Taxpayers will have their say on April 2nd when they vote.