Referendum Restrictions Bills Scheduled for Thursday Hearing

The Assembly Committee on Education has scheduled a public hearing on three bills to restrict school boards’ ability to place referendum questions before district voters and limit the length of time a successful referendum can be in effect. The hearing will be held:

Thursday, June 15, 2017
10:00 AM
Room 417 North (GAR Hall), State Capitol Building

The three referendum restriction bills are:

Assembly Bill 282, relating to: restricting consideration of resolutions to issue bonds by common and union high school districts and prohibiting voting on a resolution to exceed the revenue limit of a school district at a special meeting. 

This bill, authored by state Rep. David Murphy (R-Greenville), would prohibit a school board in a unified district from voting on a resolution to exceed a school district’s revenue limit at a school board meeting that is not a regularly scheduled monthly meeting, and would prohibit voting in a common or union high school (UHS) district on a resolution to exceed a school district’s revenue limit at a school district special meeting. The bill would further provide that the electors of common and UHS districts may vote upon an initial resolution to raise money through a bond issue only at the school district’s annual meeting.

Assembly Bill 268, relating to: restricting school board referendums to exceed revenue limit applicable to a school district.

This bill, authored by state Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls), would eliminate recurring  referendums to exceed revenue  limits and would limit the duration of successful non-recurring (temporary) operating referendums to 5 years, creating an automatic “cliff effect” when those referendums expire. The bill would also convert all previously approved recurring (permanent) operating expense referendums to non-recurring (temporary) operating referendums with a duration of 5 years, which would create a similar “cliff effect.” The five-year clock would begin ticking in the year the bill, if enacted as a new law, is published.

Assembly Bill 269, relating to: restricting the scheduling of school district referendums to exceed revenue limits

This bill, authored by state Rep. Michael Schraa  (R-Oshkosh) would require, with certain exceptions (e.g., in cases of fire or natural disaster) that all referendum votes must be held on the dates of Spring and Fall General Elections. (The Spring election is held annually on the first Tuesday in April. The Fall General election occurs in even-numbered years on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November.) This would limit school boards to only two opportunities in an even-numbered year and only one opportunity in an odd-numbered year.

The WASB opposes all three bills.  School leaders who wish to testify at the hearing and tell how these bills would negatively affect their districts are encouraged to contact Dan Rossmiller or Chris Kulow at the WASB.

View Hearing Notice.