Referendum Restriction Bill Is Worse Than You Thought

Assembly Bill 268 is one of three bills designed to make it harder for school districts to pass referenda up for a public hearing tomorrow in the Assembly Education Committee. This bill would eliminate recurring operating referenda to raise revenue authority on a permanent basis. It would also limit multi-year non-recurring operating referenda to 5 years.  Finally, and possibly most troubling, the bill eliminates referendum-approved revenue authority from a school district’s base budget that was approved in any previous recurring referendum five years after the effective date of the bill.

In other words, any school district that ever passed a recurring referendum would have that revenue authority cut off after five years and would then have to pass non-recurring referenda perpetually at least every five years just to retain what voters had already approved. According to a fiscal estimate of the bill prepared by DPI, this would amount to a cut in revenue authority of $178.5 million of previously approved referenda in 130 school districts.  This amount figures in recurring referenda approved going back to September 1996.

Needless to say, the WASB strongly opposes this bill and has prepared testimony for the committee hearing tomorrow. For more information on the bill and our position on it, you can view the WASB’s  testimony HERE.