Voters to Decide Ten School Referenda on Tuesday

Ten school referenda will be on the ballot Tuesday in various school districts across the state.  It will mark the last time school boards will be able to place ballot questions before voters on a date that doesn’t coincide with a regularly scheduled election under new restrictions enacted as part of the 2017-19 state budget.

Effective January 1, 2018, school district referenda to exceed revenue limits and to issue bonds will be limited to being held only on regularly-scheduled election days (i.e., the February spring primary or April spring general election, or the August (fall) partisan primary or November general election). Districts will be further restricted to calling referenda on just two dates per calendar year.

As passed by the Legislature, the new restrictions on the scheduling of school referenda would have allowed districts to place ballot questions before voters on the second Tuesday of November of an odd-numbered year. The provision providing this option, however, was vetoed by Gov, Walker at the request of three state Senators—Sen. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) and Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield)—who had threatened to withhold their vote for passage of the budget unless certain vetoes were made, including this one.

Of the ten referendum questions, six ask voters to approve the issuance of debt for school construction projects.  Those six referenda will be before voters in the Barneveld (two separate questions), Cochrane-Fountain City, Freedom Area, Milton and Union Grove (UHS) districts. Four districts are seeking voter approval to exceed revenue limits on a non-recurring basis. Those districts are Florence, Freedom Area, Princeton and Three Lakes.

Here are the details:

District Amount Type Brief Description
Barneveld $3,400,000 Issue Debt Renovation and expansion of Multi-Purpose gymnasium, addition of a new industrial arts and STEM area, staff/event parking.
Barneveld $12,900,000 Issue Debt Demolition of the oldest portion of the existing school building; construction of an addition for a new elementary school, music rooms and art rooms; construction of a new secure entrance, cafeteria, commons and kitchen; upgrades to restrooms, HVAC and plumbing and electrical systems.
Cochrane-Fountain City $7,000,000 Issue Debt Initial Resolution Authorizing General Obligation Bonds or Promissory Notes In An Amount Not To Exceed $7,000,000.00
Florence 2018-2019 $1,250,000
2019-2020 $1,250,000
2020-2021 $1,250,000
Total: $3,750,000
NR 2020-2021 For continuing operations and maintenance of the district.
Freedom Area 2020-2021 $740,000
2021-2022 $740,000
2022-2023 $740,000
2023-2024 $740,000
2024-2025 $740,000
Total: $3,700,000
NR 2024-2025 Non-Recurring Referendum for Costs of Operating New High School
Freedom Area $66,700,000 Issue Debt Debt Referendum for New High School and Renovations of current HS/MS and Elementary Schools.
Milton $69,900,000 Issue Debt Issue general obligation bonds for a District-wide school building and improvement program.
Princeton 2018-2019 $475,000
2019-2020 $475,000
2020-2021 $475,000
2021-2022 $475,000
2022-2023 $475,000
Total: $2,375,000
NR 2022-2023 Resolution to increase revenue limits for operational needs.
Three Lakes 2018-2019 $3,092,787
2019-2020 $3,092,787
2020-2021 $3,092,787
2021-2022 $3,092,787
2022-2023 $3,092,787
Total: $15,463,935
NR 2022-2023 To Exceed Revenue Limit by 3,092,787 per year for five years for non-recurring purposes
Union Grove UHS $7,875,000 Issue Debt Construction of an agricultural building and greenhouse on land owned by the District; remodeling and renovations in the technology education department; improvements to the science classrooms and conversation of a general classroom to a science classroom; construction of an addition for a wellness center with 3 or 4 classrooms located above the wellness center for future expansion; related site improvements; capital and building infrastructure improvements and repairs, acquisition of furnishing, fixtures and equipment.