Wayzata Public Schools

Referendum 2014

Download a printable PDF Referendum Fact Sheet.

Questions? Email referendum@wayzata.k12.mn.us, leave a message on the referendum hotline at 763-745-5050 or watch the Referendum Information Session which was held on Wednesday, January 22, 6:30 p.m., at Wayzata High School, 4955 Peony Lane, Plymouth.

The Wayzata School Board voted unanimously to place two school funding questions before voters at a special election on February 25, 2014. The referendum is in response to unprecedented growth from new housing developments, increasingly larger classes moving from the middle schools to Wayzata High School and the recent addition of state-funded, all-day Kindergarten beginning in the fall of 2014 that are impacting district facility needs.

  • Question one: Request to approve $109.645 million in bond funding to expand Wayzata High School, build a new elementary school and upgrade safety, security and technology districtwide.
  • Question two: Request to renew the existing technology levy, which funds technology equipment, support and training districtwide with approximately $2.7 million annually.

If voters approve the ballot questions, the tax impact on the average Wayzata homeowner ($333,900 value home) would be approximately $10/month for the bond issue. There would be no tax increase for the technology levy renewal.

Wayzata Public Schools Resident Student Population is Growing... More Capacity is Needed

The demand to attend Wayzata Public Schools has never been greater. The district's K-12 resident student enrollment is anticipated to increase twice as fast in the next 10 years as it has in the past decade. This growth and need for more capacity is due to:

  • More births and students moving into the district
  • More housing — 1,200 new homes have been built in the district over the past four years and at least another 1,600 new homes are expected to be built in the next four years within the district boundaries, primarily in the cities of Plymouth, Corcoran, Maple Grove and Medina
  • More students already in our schools — most district schools are already at capacity, including the high school, and incoming classes from the district's three middle schools are 50-100 students larger than past classes
  • Updated enrollment projections indicate that Wayzata High School is projected to grow by as many as 900 students in the next 10 years
  • The State's recent decision to fund all-day Kindergarten will create the need for 14-16 additional elementary classrooms
  • Wayzata Public Schools has been closed to open enrollment for the past two years to focus on meeting the needs of a growing resident student population

Wayzata High School Enrollment Projections

Wayzata K-12 Enrollment Projections

New Pressures Impact Comprehensive District Facility Plan

The School Board began a comprehensive facilities planning process in 2010 with a 3-phase approach. Higher than expected enrollment projections and the state's recent decision to fund all-day Kindergarten starting in 2014 added new pressures to the planning process already underway.

School Board Actions to Address Growth

Wayzata School Board Approves February 2014 Ballot Questions to Address Enrollment Growth, 10-15-13

Student Growth Press Release, 8-15-13

Rapid Enrollment Growth Results in Proposal to Expand Wayzata High School and Build a New Elementary School Press Release, 9-10-13

Tax Impact

This page provides information for taxpayers of the Wayzata Public Schools regarding how the district's proposed bond referendum will affect their property taxes.

Click here for a tax impact calculator for homeowners.

The tax impact for the district's average home value of $333,900 is approximately $10 per month if question one is approved. There is no additional tax impact if question two is approved. The chart below shows the estimated annual tax impact for approval of question one on a range of property values; the change in annual tax impact for approval of question two is $0 at all property values.

Voting Information

In-person absentee voting starts on Friday, January 10 at City of Plymouth Offices (3400 Plymouth Boulevard, Plymouth, Minn., Google map). You may cast an absentee ballot if you are unable to vote in person on election day because you are: absent from precinct; ill or have a disability; observing a religious discipline or religious holiday; serving as an election judge in another precinct; prevented by an eligible emergency declared by the governor or quarantine declared by federal or state government.

To learn more or download an application, visit the City of Plymouth website. Questions regarding absentee voting may be directed to the City of Plymouth at 763-509-5080.

Questions about the referendum may be directed to email referendum@wayzata.k12.mn.us or leave a message on the referendum hotline at 763-745-5050.

Where to Vote

If you are not sure where you vote, call 763-745-5070 or visit http://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us.

The combined polling places for this election and the precincts served by those polling places will be as follows:

Wayzata City Hall

600 Rice Street, Wayzata, Minnesota

This combined polling place serves all territory in Independent School District No. 284 located in the City of Orono, Precinct 4A; the City of Plymouth, Precincts 8, 10 and 11; and the City of Wayzata; Hennepin County, Minnesota.

Plymouth Fire Station No. 3

3300 Dunkirk Lane North, Plymouth, Minnesota

This combined polling place serves all territory in Independent School District No. 284 located in the City of Plymouth, Precincts 6, 7 and 9; Hennepin County, Minnesota.

Christ Memorial Lutheran Church

13501 Sunset Trail,Plymouth, Minnesota

This combined polling place serves all territory in Independent School District No. 284 located in the City of Medicine Lake; and the City of Plymouth, Precincts 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17; Hennepin County, Minnesota.

Wayzata High School

4955 Peony Lane, Plymouth, Minnesota

This combined polling place serves all territory in Independent School District No. 284 located in the City of Corcoran, Precinct 2; the City of Medina, Precinct 1B; the City of Plymouth, Precincts 1 and 2; and the City of Maple Grove, Precincts 11, 18, 21 and 23; Hennepin County, Minnesota.

Plymouth Creek Center

14800 34th Avenue N., Plymouth, Minnesota

This combined polling place serves all territory in Independent School District No. 284 located in the City of Plymouth, Precincts 3, 4, 5 and 13; Hennepin County, Minnesota.

Minnetonka Community Center

14600 Minnetonka Boulevard, Minnetonka, Minnesota

This combined polling place serves all territory in Independent School District No. 284 located in the City of Minnetonka, Precincts W-2 P-A-Q, W-3 P-A, W-3 P-B, and W-3 P-D-V; Hennepin County, Minnesota.


Any eligible voter residing in the school district may vote at said election at the combined polling place designated above for the precinct in which he or she resides. The polls for said election will be opened at 7:00 o’clock a.m. and will close at 8:00 o’clock p.m. on the date of said election.

A voter must be registered to vote to be eligible to vote in this election. An unregistered individual may register to vote at the combined polling place on election day.

Ballot Information

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What will be on the ballot?
  2. How will these proposals impact my property taxes?
  3. When is the election and where do I vote?
  4. Why add on to the existing high school instead of building a second high school?
  5. What are the benefits of a large high school?
  6. How will you support freshmen in their transition from middle school into a 3,900-student high school?
  7. How will you ensure safety and security in such a large building?
  8. Will participation in sports and other activities be limited in a large high school?
  9. Will larger cohorts moving from the middle schools into the high school result in larger class sizes?
  10. Will high school traffic and building entry/exit be crowded with a larger student body?
  11. Will students have time to move between classes in a larger high school?
  12. How do you ensure individual attention for every student?
  13. What do the students think of a 3,900-student high school?
  14. How does Wayzata's size compare to other large high schools in Minnesota?
  15. Who was involved in making the decision to expand Wayzata High School?
  16. What options were considered for addressing growth at the high school?
  17. If enrollment projections are for 4,100 students at the high school in 2021-22, why is the expansion only for a capacity of 3,900 students?
  18. Why aren't voters able to choose between building a second high school and expanding the current high school when they vote February 25?
  19. What's wrong with having two high schools?
  20. Why are all the bond requests in one ballot question rather than split into multiple questions (high school expansion, new elementary school, districtwide upgrades)?
  21. What was the result of the school board vote on the referendum recommendation to expand Wayzata High School over other options for addressing high school growth?
  22. Will open enrollment be reinstated when this extra capacity is created?
  23. With our growing enrollment, won't the increasing numbers of students generate enough new revenue to pay for increased space?
  24. What happens if Question One does not pass?
  25. What does question two – renewing the technology levy – provide?
  26. What about space for students at the middle school level?

 

  1. What will be on the ballot?
    The February 25 ballot will include two school funding questions: one for bonds to build a new elementary school, expand Wayzata High School and upgrade security and technology districtwide; the other to renew our existing technology levy.
    • Question one: Request to approve $109.645 million in bond funding to expand Wayzata High School, build a new elementary school and upgrade safety, security and technology districtwide.
    • Question two: Request to renew the existing technology levy, which funds technology equipment and support districtwide with approximately $2.7 million annually.
  2. How will these proposals impact my property taxes?
    If voters approve the ballot questions, the tax impact on the average Wayzata homeowner ($333,900 value home) would be approximately $10/month for the bond issue. There would be no tax increase for the technology levy renewal.
     
    Voter request
    Annual tax impact*
    Monthly tax impact*
    Q1: $109.645 million bond
    $123
    $10
    Q2: Renew existing tech levy
    $0
    $0
    * Tax impacts are based on $333,900 average home value in school district.
  3. When is the election and where do I vote?
    The special election will be held on February 25, 2014. To find your polling location, visit http://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us. Please note that since this is a special election, some polling places are being combined and still need to be confirmed. To be sure you vote at the proper location, please check this site after January 15.
  4. Why add on to the existing high school instead of building a second high school?
    The proposal to expand Wayzata High School rather than build a second smaller high school was based on months of work in spring and summer 2013 by the Community Task Force on Facilities, the Citizens Financial Advisory Council, the School Board Facilities Committee, input from staff, and Board and administrative review. After a comprehensive review of the school district's enrollment growth and ways to address that growth, there was across-the-board agreement on the decision to expand the current high school over other options. Reasons included: opportunities available in a large setting, disparities that would exist between one larger and one smaller high school, positive case studies of other successful large schools and long-term operating cost efficiencies. Operating costs for a second high school would likely exceed an additional $12 million over the next 20 years. Learn more about the process here.
  5. What are the benefits of a large high school?
    Wayzata High school consistently ranks at the top locally, in Minnesota and nationally. And WHS is a source of tremendous pride both within the school district and in the eight communities that the District serves. A larger high school provides more opportunities to meet the needs of each and every student, while also offering a helpful transition to college and post-secondary life. More staff and more space would maintain desirable class sizes. Existing programs and support structures that create small, nurturing environments within a large campus would expand. Increased enrollment will also offer a wider variety of learning opportunities, and an increased number of clubs, activities and intramural offerings based on students' interests.
  6. How will you support freshmen in their transition from middle school into a 3,900-student high school?
    Successfully transitioning middle school students into the high school has always been an important priority. Many initiatives are in in place to make sure students and families feel welcome and supported. For example, the Link Program consists of junior and senior students who lead orientation activities and personally connect with every incoming 9th grader. Counselors also visit 8th grade students and parents at the middle schools in February to talk about registration and each middle school is invited to spend a special day at WHS in the spring. There is also a "Demystifying the High School" event held in January to answer parents' questions and help alleviate concerns about the transition. In addition, more counselors and advisors will be added as the student population grows to meet the needs of each and every student.
  7. How will you ensure safety and security in such a large building?
    Safety and security are a priority in all schools and buildings in the District, including Wayzata High School (WHS). The same emergency procedures and protocols we currently have in place to ensure the safety of our students and staff would remain in place with more space added to the high school. These procedures are reviewed and updated annually by the District's Safety Committee and any change in the structure of WHS would include a change in the comprehensive plan. To accommodate the growing student population, it will likely be necessary to hire more hall monitors and add additional security cameras.
  8. Will participation in sports and other activities be limited in a large high school?
    Because of the size of Wayzata High School, we are able to have many athletics and activities that smaller high schools are not able to afford. WHS offers a wide variety of athletic and activity opportunities for students—there is something for everyone who wants to be involved. Currently 78% of our high school students take part in at least one sport or activity, and we do not anticipate that this would change. Although WHS has only one varsity level team per sport according to Minnesota High School League rules, we will offer multiple lower level teams (more 9th grade and sophomore teams, and junior varsity whenever possible). We will also respond with additional clubs, activities and intramural offerings based on students' interests. In addition, the number of theatre productions would increase as additional space is provided so that more students can participate.
  9. Will larger cohorts moving from the middle schools into the high school result in larger class sizes?
    Class sizes would not increase if we add on the addition to the High School. The current average class size at WHS is a 27:1 ratio (27 students to one teacher). The district has Board approved class-size ratios in place so that as more students are added, more teachers would be hired.
  10. Will high school traffic and building entry/exit be crowded with a larger student body?
    An important feature of the proposal includes adding one or two new entrances to the high school site. In addition, the City of Plymouth has plans in place to widen Peony Lane between Schmidt Lake Road and Lawndale Lane to improve traffic flow. It is anticipated that this project will take approximately one year starting in the summer of 2014.
  11. Will students have time to move between classes in a larger high school?
    The new high school addition includes more space being added to current core spaces like lobbies, cafeteria and hallways, which will alleviate the crowding students currently experience and improve traffic flow within the building. Staff will continue to assist students who need extra time and support.
  12. How do you ensure individual attention for every student?
    Our teachers understand that learning requires a relationship, and regardless of the size of the school, they work to develop classrooms characterized by positive relationships. A large high school can actually help with relationships. A large high school allows for a broader set of course offerings, which allow students and staff to delve deeper into their own interests and passions and develop relationships through these common interests. In addition to teachers and administrators, support staff including paraprofessionals, health services, counseling, secretarial, etc. are committed to helping students feel a part of WHS.
  13. What do the students think of a 3,900-student high school?
    The vast majority of current Wayzata High School students and graduates report a wonderful experience in a large high school. We are committed to continuing to provide excellence for each and every student at WHS regardless of its size. With more space and staff (added as our student enrollment grows), we can add even more course offerings and activities to meet the personal interests of our students. The Wayzata High School Student Council indicated it was happy about the decision to expand the high school rather than build a second high school.
  14. How does Wayzata's size compare to other large high schools in Minnesota?
    Wayzata High School is currently the largest high school in Minnesota and would remain so after its expansion, if approved by voters. In addition to total enrollment, the square feet per student is another measure of high school size and efficiency. Minnesota state guidelines for high schools larger than 2,000 students recommend 160-192 square feet/student - the larger the school, the closer it tends to moves to the lower end of the range due to economies of scale.

    Sample of Large and Neighboring High Schools (data from MN Dept of Ed)
    High School
    Total Enrollment
    (2012-13)
    Total Square Feet
    Approx. Square
    Feet/Student
    Wayzata HS
    (proposed)
    3,900
    (proposed capacity)
    658,177
    168.76
    Wayzata HS
    (current)
    3,160
    487,432
    154.25
    Eden Prairie HS
    3,008
    693,771
    230.64
    Minnetonka HS
    2,929
    575,043
    196.33
    Champlin Park
    (Anoka-Hennepin)
    2,753
    380,253
    138.12
    Prior Lake HS
    2,339
    354,635
    151.62
    Coon Rapids HS
    (Anoka-Hennepin)
    2,260
    435,595
    192.74
    Eagan HS
    (Rosemount-AV-Eagan)
    2,151
    382,970
    178.04
    Edina HS
    1,975
    411,717
    208.46
    Hopkins HS
    1,826
    477,725
    261.62
     
  15. Who was involved in making the decision to expand Wayzata High School?
    The recommendation to expand Wayzata High School rather than build a second smaller high school or other options was based on months of work in spring and summer 2013 by the 16-member Community Task Force on Facilities, the 12-member Citizens Financial Advisory Council, the 11-member School Board Facilities Committee, the 7-member School Board, the 9-member Strategic Leadership Team as well as input from many staff and community members. The majority of the data analysis and option review was ultimately done by the Task Force, which considered in depth several different options for addressing enrollment growth at the high school. The decision about how to respond to high school growth was complex, and involved decisions about educational best practices as well as how best to spend millions of taxpayer dollars. The Board believed the process that was used was the best way to incorporate many voices and perspectives while also recognizing the complexity of the issue and the time/commitment needed to adequately analyze it.
  16. What options were considered for addressing growth at the high school?
    Options the Community Task Force on Facilities explored included: expanding the current high school, building a second high school, creating a separate ninth-grade campus, creating a separate twelfth-grade campus, adding a fourth middle school and changing the current grade configuration (which grades are in which buildings) to K-5, 6-9 and 10-12, adding an eighth elementary school and changing the current grade configuration to K-6, 7-9 and 10-12. After thorough review, all involved were unanimous in their support for maintaining the current grade configuration of K-5, 6-8 and 9-12, citing it as an educational best practice, and for expanding the current high school over all other options. Reasons for expansion included: a wider range of opportunities available for all students, concern about disparities that would exist between one larger and one smaller high school, continuing the excellence in place at Wayzata High School, positive case studies of other successful large schools, maintaining community unity, better preparation for the transition to college and long-term operating cost efficiencies. Operating costs alone for a second high school would likely exceed an additional $12 million over the next 20 years.
  17. If enrollment projections are for 4,100 students at the high school in 2021-22, why is the expansion only for a capacity of 3,900 students?
    The 4,100 student projection in the year 2021-22 was the most aggressive scenario of the four scenarios presented by nationally recognized demographer Hazel Reinhardt, and included information about upcoming housing developments in the district. The projections also showed a drop to below 4,100 students in the following year. Because projections are only projections, the further out they are the less certain they are; when coupled with the district's desire not to overbuild, the recommendation is for a slightly more conservative approach with a lower tax impact on property owners. The proposed addition will add classrooms for 3,900 students, but will expand common and core space to accommodate 4,100 students. If additional classrooms are needed in the future, they can be added at that time.
  18. Why aren’t voters able to choose between building a second high school and expanding the current high school when they vote February 25?
    Ballot questions cannot pose "either/or" choices to voters. A ballot question must put forward a specific request that is either voted up or down. The Minnesota Department of Education, which reviews and approves all school districts' building proposals, charges districts with identifying a recommended course of action and then presenting that recommendation to voters. Based on a comprehensive review of the district's needs, the recommended course of action was to expand the high school, as well as build a new elementary school and upgrade safety, security and technology districtwide.
  19. What’s wrong with having two high schools?
    While there is nothing inherently wrong with having two high schools, there are several reasons why the option of building a second high school in Wayzata was not recommended:
    • The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) will not approve projects that "overbuild" in a school district. Because Wayzata High School's current capacity is 3,200 students and the highest enrollment 9-12 projection is 4,100, MDE would likely only approve a new building with enrollment up to 900 students, or if larger other students would need to occupy portions of the existing high school. The result would be two very different capacity high schools (3,200 and 900) – setting up major inequities in offerings and opportunities.
    • While the costs to build a second high school and expand the current high school are similar, the operating costs are not. Operating costs alone for a second high school are estimated at $616,000/year – meaning an additional $12 million (more, with inflation) over the next 20 years. Covering these additional costs would need to come at the expense of existing programs.
    • Going from one high school to two can challenge the sense of community unity. The district would need to create a new high school attendance boundary to divide off an existing portion of our community who would no longer attend Wayzata High School and would be required to attend the new High School.
    • The current high school has a number of programs and resources in place that make the school feel personal within the large setting. Mitigating the large size is much easier than overcoming the many challenges associated with building a second high school.
    • While other districts have chosen to go from one high school to two, all school districts are different, and this is a very community-specific decision. In all cases, their existing high school was much smaller than Wayzata's; in others they had been planning for two high schools for some time. In any event, the circumstances in Wayzata, the commitment to equity of opportunity and the tradition of excellence all led to expanding the high school.
    After thorough review, all involved in the analysis and approval were unanimous in the decision to expand the current high school over all other options.
  20. Why are all the bond requests in one ballot question rather than split into multiple questions (high school expansion, new elementary school, districtwide upgrades)?
    The school district is responsible for all its students equally, not one group over another. The facilities review process was a comprehensive one, and identified needs at various levels that were all equally important. The final recommendation addresses those needs and is all included in question one as a comprehensive solution to districtwide facilities needs. Only solving either the elementary or high school space issues without solving the other would not be fiscally or educationally appropriate or fair; in addition, the districtwide upgrades to security and technology are critical for all students. Splitting the questions would also have indicated some level of priority, and the district believes the needs are of equal priority and therefore linked.

    The technology levy renewal (question two) must be a separate ballot question by law, because it is a different funding stream and asks for renewal of a levy that will soon expire.
  21. What was the result of the school board vote on the referendum recommendation to expand Wayzata High School over other options for addressing high school growth?
    On October 14, 2013, the Wayzata School Board voted unanimously (7-0) to place a bond referendum before voters asking for approval of a comprehensive package to address growing enrollment – a package that includes expanding Wayzata High School rather than building a second high school or other options. The bond referendum question, which will come before voters on February 25, 2014, asks for $109.645 million to expand Wayzata High School, build a new elementary school and upgrade safety, security and technology districtwide. The School Board was very clear this was a unanimous 7-0 decision. Prior to the vote at the October 14 Board meeting, each Board member spoke passionately about the tremendous amount of time and work that went into the recommendations, the questions they each wrestled with and the confidence they had in the final recommendation being the right one to continue Wayzata's tradition of excellence. Vice Chair Jay Hesby echoed the sentiments of the other Board members when he said, "The comprehensive administrative recommendation represents a thoughtful, timely and fiscally prudent response to our immediate and future needs. It is consistent with our vision and ongoing commitment to excellence and is an appropriate investment with a modest tax impact that will serve district students and families exceedingly well for many years."
  22. Will open enrollment be reinstated when this extra capacity is created?
    The proposed facility plans are to accommodate resident student growth. It is not our intent to add an elementary school and expand the high school in an effort to bring in additional open enrollment students. Open enrollment has been closed for the past two years and will continue to be closed in grades 1-12 to accommodate our growing resident student population. State law requires that the District allow students who have already been granted open enrollment to complete their academic career in Wayzata Schools, and a small percentage of students (less than 10 students) are required to be accepted in Kindergarten each year. The School Board values keeping families together; therefore, the District has continued with the practice of allowing Kindergarten siblings of currently open-enrolled students to attend WPS. Each year, the District will graduate about 75 open enrollment students and the net impact will be a significant reduction in the total number of open enrollment students.
  23. With our growing enrollment, won't the increasing numbers of students generate enough new revenue to pay for increased space?
    No. While the state revenue that comes with each student assists in paying the increase in operating costs - such as teachers, instructional materials, heat, etc - this revenue is inadequate to fund the investment needed to increase the capacity of our facilities. Wayzata currently generates approximately $232 for each additional student through state funding formulas that is required by law to pay for equipment and facilities. In Wayzata, this amount not only provides textbooks and equipment for the additional resident students, but is used to maintain and repair existing facilities. The School Board has been and will continue to be good stewards of the community's investment in its facilities by properly maintaining the facilities with these annual resources. The primary tool provided by the legislature for major building needs of the size and magnitude currently being presented to the community is voter-approved building bonds for financing major projects, which is what question one on the February 25 ballot addresses.
  24. What happens if Question One does not pass?
    If defeated, all district schools — elementary, middle and high school — will continue to get increasingly crowded. The resident student growth is real and will continue to present space and infrastructure challenges. The high school alone is projected to be 400 students over capacity by 2016-17, creating space shortages likely to negatively impact class sizes. The district will need to develop a short-term plan to address crowding, as any long-term solution will be delayed by at least a year beyond the 2016-17 school year. After determining what the no vote meant, the district will need to return to voters with an updated recommendation to provide needed space for students. Given the many reasons that led to a unanimous decision to recommend expanding the current high school over building a new high school (see frequently asked questions 16 and 19), the school board is not likely to change that recommendation in a future request.
  25. What does question two – renewing the technology levy – provide?
    Renewing the school district's existing technology levy would simply continue to provide funds to maintain and enhance classroom technology to support student learning. If approved, it would renew the current levy that expires in 2016 and provide approximately $2.7 million per year over the next ten years. There would be no tax increase if the technology levy is approved. Specifically, these funds help:
      • Fund exceptional student learning experiences through MyWay and the student 1:1 mobile learning initiative
      • Update and maintain student and staff computer equipment
      • Provide high-quality learning resources to support effective classroom instruction strategies through technology
      • Update and maintain existing information systems and networks
      • Provide technology service and support to students, parents, staff and community members
  26. What about space for students at the middle school level?
    The district will be able to provide adequate space in the three middle schools without building new space. This will be accomplished by moving district staff currently located at Central Middle School to other locations to create more classrooms and learning spaces for middle school students.

District Growth in the News

Press Releases

Community Task Force on Facilities May 2013

District Housing Study Report

New Housing Developments within District Boundaries

One vs Two High School Analysis

State Review and Comment

School Board Presentations

Proposed WHS Addition Rationale Fact Sheet

Proposed WHS Expansion Drawings

High School Addition Concepts

Ariel view of proposed high school additions

Animation of high school additions