Moraine Park’s Referendum Wrap-up

Tomorrow, Moraine Park Technical College District residents will have the opportunity to vote on the College’s first referendum in more than 30 years. Here are the key takeaways the College wants community members to know:

Moraine Park is required to go to referendum.

By state law, the amount of money Moraine Park can spend on new buildings, additions, or land acquisition without going to voters is limited to $1.5 million per campus every two years. New buildings, additions, or land acquisition beyond the cap (not funded through gifts, grants, or federal funds) must be approved by voters in a public referendum. 

“Education is the key to economic growth in any community,” Bonnie Baerwald, Moraine Park president, said. “Workforce growth is what will change our community, and as a technical college, we are the change agents. This referendum is vital to making change and growth happen at a time when technology and automation are influencing industry so rapidly.”   

We do have employer/donor support.

As part of this referendum, the Moraine Park Foundation is currently campaigning for donations totaling $2.5 million to offset the costs of the robotics addition in Fond du Lac. To date, the Foundation has raised more than $2.1 million. If the referendum is approved, Moraine Park will seek additional dollars from employers, foundations, and other state and federal grant sources to offset the cost of the equipment.

“Employers regularly donate to our Foundation with gifts of materials, supplies, and student scholarships,” Baerwald said. “In the last five years, employers have donated to a few unique campaigns. In 2017, employers donated more than $300,000 toward a facility expansion in Beaver Dam to support a new gas utility technician program. In 2018, many employers donated more than $1.2 million to support student scholarships for our new Promise Program.”

Tax Payer Impact:

The projected tax impact of the $55 million facilities enhancement plan is estimated to be $21 per year per $100,000 of property value ($1.75 per month) for the next 20 years. If approved, the tax burden would be assessed to all property owners within the Moraine Park District, which includes 130 municipalities. Our District includes nearly all of Fond du Lac, Washington, Dodge and Green Lake counties and portions of Waushara, Marquette, Columbia, Winnebago, Calumet and Sheboygan counties.

“We won’t borrow it all upfront,” Baerwald said. “It would be $20-25 million the first year, $18 million the second year and the remainder during the third year.”

If the referendum does not pass:

With the most recent 10-year master plan for the district’s facilities, more than $27 million in projects were found that needed to be done over the next 10 years. Baerwald said that by state statute the district is only allowed to do remodeling projects and capital expansion additions to the tune of $1.5 million per project. The current list would take more than 20 years to create what is already needed in area workplaces. 

“We need to invest in this kind of growth either way,” Jim Eden, Moraine Park vice president of teaching and learning, said. “If a referendum passes, we will accelerate Moraine Park’s ability to grow by about 15 years. If it does not, it will take the College 15 years to catch up.”

The ballot question:

Shall the Moraine Park Technical College District, Wisconsin be authorized to issue pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds or promissory notes in an amount not to exceed $55,000,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of capital expenditures for the purchase or construction of buildings, building additions, remodeling and improvements, site improvements, the acquisition of sites, and the purchase of fixed and other equipment at District locations, including, but not limited to, advanced manufacturing facilities at the Fond du Lac and West Bend Campuses, a health and human services facility at the Fond du Lac Campus, and a regional fire training facility?

“I really want the voters to be informed and encouraged to go out and vote,” Baerwald said. “It is an investment in the economic health and workforce development for our entire community whether you have attended Moraine Park or have not.” 

Community Quotes:

“The important connection with an employer like Grande Cheese Company and Moraine Park Technical College is the bridge it provides for continuing education. It’s not something we can do on our own so we are very reliant on other resources and training avenues.” –Kelly Norton, Sr. Director of Culture and Communications, Grande Cheese 

“This project will save a department like Hartford Fire and Rescue’s future expenses by allowing us to preserve our unique staffing model that we are currently using. Almost our entire staff, which is 65 employees, have had some education completed by Moraine Park Technical College. […] Building a state-of-the-art fire service facility for Moraine Park would help us greatly. […] We need to have staff coming into our department not only initially but ongoing training so we can keep up with the trends and updates in technology and equipment.” –Paul Stephans, Fire Chief, Hartford Fire and Rescue 

“The West Bend schools really appreciate our partnership with Moraine Park Technical College. It’s an integral part of our career and technical education program and helps put many of our students on a pathway to success.” –Jen Wimmer, Superintendent, West Bend School District 

“Us being in the trucking business, we know how to dispatch, we know how to deal with drivers, we know how to fix trucks. What we don’t know how to do is train them and teach them the way Moraine Park is able to do that.” –Tim Kreilkamp, CEO, Kreilkamp Trucking, Inc. 

“[Moraine Park] is one of our major pipelines of people. They do the training of the people for us who are going to take our jobs. […] Anything that we can do to keep our workforce local, in our community, and also offer educational opportunities and experience through Moraine Park will only make us better as an organization.” –Katherine Vergos, President, SSM Health St. Agnes Hospital 

“Moraine Park Technical College is a valuable community partner in our commitment to providing high-quality health care to our region’s residents, close to where they live, work and play. […] EMS/Paramedic students with MPTC enrich the health and wellbeing of the community.” –Angelia Foster, President, Marshfield Medical Center – Beaver Dam 

“MPTC is really important to the resiliency of the whole Fond du Lac Area. Automation, innovation and robotics here at the MPTC campus in Fond du Lac are really important when I think about the path we’re going down. If you don’t have trained individuals to run those machines, we really can’t run manufacturing.” –Andres Gonzales, Vice President – Human Resources,  Mercury Marine

Community Endorsements:

  • Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce
  • City of Horicon
  • West Bend Chamber of Commerce

Written by Emilie Wilson