Public support for school referenda remains strong

Voters approved about 75 percent of all school referenda on local ballots at Tuesday’s (April 2) election,  continuing to show support for providing additional resources for schools in communities throughout the state.

Overall, local voters approved 28 of 33 referenda to exceed revenue caps, an 85 percent passage rate.

  • School districts in which voters approved non-recurring referenda to exceed state-imposed revenue limits included: Frederic, Glendale-River Hills, Goodman Armstrong, Holmen, Lake Holcombe, Laona, Luck, Maple Dale-Indian Hill, Marshall, Oakfield, Owen-Withee, Port Edwards, Rio Community, River Valley, Salem, Sparta Area, Sturgeon Bay, Tomah, Washington, West Salem, Whitehall and Wisconsin Heights.
  • School districts in which voters approved recurring referenda to exceed state-imposed revenue limits included: DeForest, Marshall, Potosi, Shorewood, Somerset, and Sun Prairie.

The passage rate on referenda to approve borrowing for school construction and maintenance projects was slightly lower (61.5 percent), as 16 of 26 debt issuance referenda received the support of a majority of voters.

  • School districts in which voters gave the go-ahead for school bond issues included: Albany, Baraboo, DeForest, Fond du Lac (2), Frederic, Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau, Maple Dale-Indian Hill, Milton, Shorewood, Siren (1 of 2), Somerset, Spencer, Spring Valley, Sun Prairie and Waterford UHS.

A change in state law made in the last (2017-19) state budget limits the dates on which school referenda votes may be scheduled to coincide with regularly scheduled elections.  That means Tuesday’s Spring election was the last opportunity for school districts to place questions before voters in calendar year 2019.

The next opportunity for districts to place a referendum question on the ballot will be in February 2020. That will be too late, however, to affect property tax levies for the 2019-20 school year.  Any referenda passed in February 2020 will not affect school district property tax levies until the 2020-21 school year.