Voters in West Bend are deciding if they want to spend $119 million on new schools.
WEST BEND – Voters in West Bend will decide Tuesday if they want to spend $119 million on new schools. It is the largest school referendum in Wisconsin's history. There is a divide in the community over the referendum issue. On one side, people feel $119 million is too expensive. On the other side, people feel the number of students in West Bend is booming and the district's old buildings need improvement. “I think it’s definitely a great investment for our community, for the children and for the future to come, so I’m in full support of the referendum,” Sheila Miranda who supports the referendum said. “The project is probably fine. It looks like it was well thought out, but it’s too much right now,” one man said. A national organization with local ties is campaigning against the referendum. "Americans for Prosperity" generally opposes tax increases and the organization has been making phone calls to people in West Bend urging them to vote against the referendum. The calls, according to the District Attorney and the Superintendent of Schools, are misleading. Citizens complained about the calls and the statistical claims made in them and the District Attorney investigated to determine they were not a violation of election law. The DA did urge Americans for Prosperity to be less misleading in future messages. West Bend School District Leaders plan to gather at the District Administration Building at 8:00PM to wait for results. Although the cost of the referendum is high, Superintendent Patricia Herdrich insists it is necessary saying, "I think one of the things we tried hard to communicate is because of the scale of our district, the total is higher but the individual impact on the taxpayer is one of the lowest in the state of Wisconsin." The referendum will affect every school building in the West Bend district including replacing some buildings with new facilities and updating others. Watch "LIVE AT TEN" on TODAY'S TMJ4 for election results.