Voters in 26 School Districts Raise Taxes on Themselves
Wisconsin voters approved ballot initiatives in 26 school districts last week, voluntarily raising property taxes in order to fund services or improved infrastructure in their districts.
Referenda that were approved at the ballot box last week include:
- The issuance of $25 million debt by the Horton School District to build a new elementary school, add on to the high school and middle school, and to construct a new transportation facility;
- The issuance of $6.2 million of debt by the Mount Horeb School District to replace the heating system at the high school, repair the high school roof, and replace inefficient windows;
- A $7.8 million, three-year initiative at the Portage Community School District that will be used for operating costs. In the past nine months, the Portage District has closed two elementary schools and a charter school, and has eliminated 11 positions due to budgetary constraints. Passage of the referendum means that the district will not have to make additional structural changes in the near future, according to the Portage Daily Register.
- A $2.9 million, three-year initiative at the Iowa-Grant School District that will be used to maintain current services. The superintendent of that district summed up the need for a referendum by saying that given the freeze in state funding for schools, “We are at the end of what we can trim without hurting our kids.”
Voters also turned down referenda in 21 school districts.
The total number of school referenda was 51. (A few districts had more than one referendum on the ballot last week.) Of the 51 referenda, 27 passed and the remainder failed. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website has more information on school referenda.