Phase IV: Revitalizing Elementary Facilities

The School District of Baraboo is actively implementing a long-range facilities plan that aligns with its strategic goals for improving teaching and learning conditions, beginning in 2012. This phase of the District's approach involves studying elementary school needs, gathering community feedback, and potentially presenting a plan to voters in November 2024. Since 2014, the District has undertaken phased revitalization projects, focusing on modernizing schools while minimizing taxpayer impact. Currently, the District is assessing the next phase, targeting elementary schools for significant upgrades to building systems, instructional spaces, and facilities to accommodate expanded 4K programming starting in 2024-25. Community engagement, through initiatives like the Elementary Facilities Advisory Committee (EFAC), plays a central role in shaping the District's future facilities plans, including two pathways for elementary school revitalization.

The next step in this process is an invitation from The School District of Baraboo’s Board of Education to all community members to engage in our District's forthcoming community-wide facilities planning survey. Our primary focus is on revitalizing the elementary schools, which urgently require capital maintenance updates, modernized learning environments, space for expanded 4K programs, and adjustments to accommodate growing enrollment. The survey, expected to be distributed around April 10th, 2024, and to be completed by April 29th, 2024. The completion of this survey will be a pivotal measure in gathering valuable feedback to guide ongoing planning efforts. Feedback will be treated with utmost confidentiality, with survey data entrusted to School Perceptions, an esteemed independent education research firm.The input gathered will significantly influence the trajectory of our elementary schools, leaving a lasting impact for generations to come! Please email account with questions.

Key Information

Need for Modernization: School District of Baraboo elementary schools lack adequate small group instructional space for intervention and student collaboration.  ABE and East each have a single, combined gym / cafeteria space.  Gyms that also serve as cafeterias present scheduling challenges.  The space can only be used for physical education instruction during the beginning and end of the day.  Baraboo elementary schools require significant upgrades to major building systems. Together, the District’s elementary schools require $27.7 million to repair and replace boilers, roof, electric components, plumbing, windows and other building systems. The District’s five elementary buildings each run off their original boilers.

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Enhancing Education: The School District of Baraboo emphasizes key aspects in its elementary curriculum, including collaboration, problem-solving, small-group instruction, creativity, student agency/ownership, and inclusion. To align with these educational goals, modern schools are designed with flexible spaces, adaptable furniture, and advanced technology, which our current elementary facilities are significantly lacking. These elements contribute to creating environments where students can engage in collaborative projects, develop problem-solving skills, participate in small-group learning activities, foster creativity, take ownership of their learning, and ensure inclusivity for all students. By investing in modern facilities, the District can better support its educational mission and prepare students for success in a dynamic and interconnected world.

Enrollment: In the 2024-25 academic year, Baraboo will implement full-day 4K, aiming to provide equitable education access in a safe and consistent environment while better meeting family and student needs. This addition addresses the disproportionate declining enrollment at the 4K level and aligns with the preferences of working parents who find full-day services offered by providers appealing. Anticipating an increase in enrollment, the District commissioned two independent enrollment studies, with the MD Roffers study estimating a rise of 135 elementary students through 2035. As elementary school enrollment is projected to be at or over capacity district-wide, the closure of West Kindergarten Center is expected to exacerbate the situation, prompting the need for further expansion of 4K to accommodate the growing elementary enrollment.

MD Roffers Presentation: Community Change and Student Enrollment Projections CLICK HERE

Staffing Concerns: Staffing levels will not be impacted by the implementation of either Pathway #1 or #2 in the facilities plan. However, both pathways will require relocating some staff. Under Pathway #1, West Kindergarten staff will be shifted to the elementary school sites. Similarly, under Pathway #2, West Kindergarten staff will also be relocated to the elementary school sites, with additional staff from North Freedom being shifted to elementary buildings. Furthermore, staff teaching grades 3-5 will have expanded opportunities for grade-level-wide planning and collaboration, potentially reducing travel to North Freedom for specials.

a graphic of pathway one, as described below

a graphic of pathway two, as described below

Major Differences on Pathway 1 and 2

-Grade level configuration: Pathway #1 proposes a 4K-5 at ABE, East, GLW, and North Freedom.  Pathway #2 proposes 4K-2 at East and GLW and 3-5 at ABE (North Freedom would be repurposed).

-Intermediate concept:The intermediate concept proposed in Pathway #2 allows the District to offer upper elementary programming (e.g. music, technology) to all 3-5 students.

-Transitions: Pathway #2 adds a grade level transition. 

-North Freedom: Under Pathway #2, North Freedom would be repurposed.  Depending on grade level, North Freedom students would attend either East or GLW, or the 3-5 intermediate school.

Pathway #1 and #2 Both: 

  • Repair or replace major building systems

  • Renovate and expand ABE, East and GLW

  • Separate the gyms and cafeterias at ABE and East

  • Create small-group instruction spaces

  • Provide age-appropriate space for 4K and kindergarten space

Tax Impacts


The impact is not the cost.  The impact is the increase over the previous year for the Fund 39 tax rate.  The District’s independent financial analyst has determined the first portion of the levy for the referendum debt would be offset by the amount of the debt which has been prepaid. The District has been prepaying debt since 2017-2018.  The additional $0.36 impact for Pathway 2 represents the projected maximum mill rate increase (net of estimated state aid on the additional referendum expenditures) on the additional $14 million dollars (principal + interest) compared to Pathway 1. The District continues to be good stewards of taxpayers’ dollars.  The District’s independent financial analyst has determined that $85.7 million and $99.7 million referendums will impact the District’s mill rate as follows:


Next Steps

In the upcoming months of the elementary facilities planning process, the School District of Baraboo has outlined a series of key steps. In April 2024, a community-wide survey will be conducted, with surveys also sent to all staff members to gather comprehensive feedback. Following this, from May to June 2024, the survey results will be shared with the Board of Education (BOE) and the Elementary Facilities Advisory Committee (EFAC) for review and consideration. Subsequently, in June and July 2024, the District will work to narrow down and refine the project details, with a focus on finalizing estimated costs. By August 2024, there is a potential for the adoption of a November 2024 referendum, potentially marking a significant milestone in the District's ongoing efforts to enhance its elementary facilities and educational resources.

2023-24 Elementary Facilities Advisory Committee

The Elementary Facilities Advisory Committee (EFAC) consisted of community members and staff representatives and had a focused scope on addressing elementary facilities needs within the School District of Baraboo. The EFAC was guided by the District’s facilities commitments to safe, secure, and accessible facilities, cost-effective, energy-efficient, and sustainable facilities, dynamic, evolving facilities, curriculum, and technologies, flexible, adaptive learning environments, as well as collaboration, maximizing efficiencies, and partnerships. The EFAC's responsibilities included reviewing background planning information such as the District's vision, mission, and strategic plan, along with analyzing enrollment projections, school capacity, and capital maintenance needs. This comprehensive review process allowed the EFAC to provide valuable insights and input to both the administration and the Board of Education, aiding in informed decision-making regarding facilities planning and enhancements.

2023-24 Elementary Facilities Advisory Committee Charge

Meeting Presentations & Notes

Previous Referendum Information

Phase IV: Elementary Facilities Advisory Committee 2021-22 On September 13, 2021, the School District of Baraboo's Board of Education created the Elementary Facilities Advisory Committee (EFAC). The Board charged the EFAC with studying the District's elementary facility needs, developing a recommended course of action, and reporting their findings at a January 2022 Board of Education meeting.

Phase 3 - Revitalize Jack Young Middle School On April 2, 2019 Baraboo School District voters passed a 41.7 million facilities referendum to revitalize Jack Young Middle School. Passes of the referendum will allow the district to complete important infrastructure improvements, modernize learning spaces and expand common areas at the aging middle school.

Phase 2 - Revitalize Baraboo High School On November 8, 2016, the Baraboo community passed a 21.9 million dollar facilities referendum to improve educational environments at Baraboo High School and address capital maintenance needs.