Alert: Senate Committee to Hear Referenda/Borrowing Restriction Bill

The Senate Elections & Local Government Committee, chaired by state Sen. Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg), has scheduled a public hearing:

Thursday, January 14, 2016
9:30 AM
201 Southeast, State Capitol

Amongst other proposals (see full agenda) the committee will hear:

Senate Bill 355 by Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) & Rep. Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh) Relating to: limitations on borrowing by school districts and the use by school districts of resolutions and referenda to authorize bonding for capital projects or increase revenue limits and scheduling of school district referendums to exceed revenue limits.

WASB opposes this bill and encourages members to contact their legislators as well as committee members (see below). See Talking Points & Sample Materials

This is the identical Senate companion bill to Assembly Bill 481 which had a public hearing in the Assembly in December.  Several WASB members (and a number of administrators) testified at that hearing and it is imperative that we have as many or more of you testify at this hearing.  If you can make it please let Dan or Chris at WASB know.

As we have noted previously, an amendment has been proposed to each bill to reduce the original two-year (730-day) proposed moratorium period on additional referenda, bonding and borrowing following a failed referendum to one year (365 days).  The proposed amendment also removes restrictions on short-term borrowing proposed as part of the original bill.  All other restrictions on borrowing (promissory notes, state trust fund loans, etc.) would remain in the bill even if this amendment is adopted.

Keep this proposed change in mind and acknowledge it when contacting your legislators or preparing testimony.  We encourage WASB members to continue to strongly oppose this bill.  We believe the amendment is a positive step but continue to oppose the moratorium on additional referenda.

Please also note that the “one-year” moratorium would actually be nearly a year-and-a-half moratorium if a failed referendum vote occurs in November of an even-numbered year.  Because there is no fall general election in a odd-numbered year, a school district would have to wait until the spring election (April) following the expiration of the one-year moratorium in order to go back to its voters (one year and five months after the initial failed referendum).

Senate Elections & Local Government Members:

Senator LeMahieu (Chair) (R-Oostburg)
Senator Kapenga (Vice-Chair) (R-Delafield)
Senator Wanggaard (R-Racine)
Senator Risser (D-Madison)
Senator Miller (D-Monona)