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How Will the Mandel Apartment Development Impact Schools?

The Mandel Group expects 15 new students to enter the school district, but officials say it is hard to gauge enrollment changes without knowing who will rent the proposed units or buy the houses on the market.

The developers proposing to build an upscale apartment development near Silver Spring Drive expect the Whitefish Bay School District will add roughly 15 new students as a result of the project.

The Mandel Group recently sat down with Whitefish Bay School District administration to discuss how the district's enrollment may be affected by its proposed $27 million, three-building development containing 100 high-end apartments in the parking lots north of Silver Spring Drive, between Santa Monica and Consaul Place.

Shawn Yde, the district's business manager, said Mandel's estimate is based on a similar development they constructed in Brookfield. The apartment development is targeted to empty nesters, so developers expect some existing Whitefish Bay homes would be placed on the market and filled by younger families. The new students could also come from the new development itself.

At a committee meeting last week, Yde told School Board members that it is hard to say how many new students would come into the district as a result of the development.

"I don't think we'll really know the impact of this development on our enrollment or anything else until it happens," he said.

Yde said the school district would likely be able to manage any added enrollment through its existing resources, assuming the children aren't all the same age.

"If you have 25 new kids in a single grade level, yes, it would have an impact," Yde said. "You'd be adding another section and trying to find another classroom."

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If the district did see an influx of students that could not be managed with the existing teaching staff, Yde said the district would have to look at further limiting its open enrollment seats or by cutting the number of Chapter 220 openings, for which the district receives state funding.

Last year, the district taught 3,067 students, 2,755 of which were residents. Enrollment increased by 40 students last year, and 38 of those students were residents, according to the 2011-2012 enrollment report.

Funding the development

The village estimates it will contribute $4.9 million to the Mandel development through a tax incremental finance (TIF) district, which would allow the village to borrow and spend money on public improvements, and then recoup the money through the growth in tax revenue generated by those improvements.

Once the project is built and stabilized, the developer estimates the property will be valued at $14 million, and return an additional $320,000 in annual tax revenue.

The school district would not see any new tax revenue coming in from the apartment development until the TIF closes out. The developer expects the TIF will close by 2040, one year earlier than the 27-year maximum prescribed under state law.

Yde said the district's state aid would not be impacted until the TIF closes. Even so, Yde said $14 million in added value would not have a significant effect on the amount of money the district receives from the state.

Next steps

The school district is participating in a Joint Review Board that includes other government entities that will also be losing out on potential new tax revenue from the apartment development, including the village, Milwaukee County, Milwaukee Area Technical College and the public.

The Joint Review Board will meet again in October. Once the board reviews the plan, it will go in front of the Village Board for final amendments. The Joint Review Board will then have a chance to approve any amendments to the plan. Once the state certifies the TIF district, it will be effective as of Jan. 1.

John Citizen September 29, 2012 at 11:43 AM
A 30 million project and only assessed at 14 million? How do I get my home assessed at 45% of its true value?
Bob McBride September 29, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Change you name to Mandel? They seem to be able to get this deal on a pretty regular basis.

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