Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Referendum Information

As you may have already heard, the district is planning on asking voters to approve a levy override referendum at this spring’s election to be held on Tuesday, April 5th.  The current levy override referendum is for $790,000.00 per year for five (5) years ending at the conclusion of the 16-17 schoolyear.  Why would we ask voters to approve another levy override referendum prior to the current one expiring?  The reason behind asking the question earlier is to allow us to ask voters two additional times (the fall of 2016 and the spring of 2017) if the first attempt were to fail without having to cut programs or modify facility maintenance plans in the immediate future.  To be very clear- the referendum question on the ballot this spring will state that if passed, it would not become effective until the 17-18 schoolyear after the current one expires running for five (5) additional years until the 21-22 school year.  We are still in the planning stages and working on finalizing the exact figures for this new referendum proposal therefore we are not completely certain on what dollar amount will be requested at this time; this will become clear very shortly as we receive our certified State aid figures on October 15th allowing us to finalize and set this year’s budget.  From there, we will develop solid numbers for the new referendum amount in late October/ early November which will be shared widely with the public shortly thereafter through community meetings, newsletter articles, and the media up until the vote is taken in April.  The board will make this “official” at their regular meeting in January when they adopt a resolution approving the referendum amount and duration while allowing it to be placed on the ballot.  I cannot stress enough that all necessary information will be shared with our community members on numerous occasions once our plans have been finalized.

Why is an additional levy override referendum necessary?  There are two main factors that necessitate a continuation of a levy override in our district.  The first is our need to continue to update and maintain the facilities we have to ensure that they remain usable and functional for many years to come in addition to allowing us to update classrooms and programs to today’s standards.  We intend to continue with our facilities plans and will address multiple areas in nearly all of our facilities; some of the larger projects discussed are: updates/ renovations to the agriculture education area, technology education area, band room, choir room, and art room at the high school in addition to updates/ renovations to the technology education area at Riverview middle school. We are also planning on numerous other updates and improvements throughout the district including asphalt repair/ replacement, entry door replacement, HVAC updates and improvements, lighting updates, and many others.  The second reason for a continued levy override referendum is as a result of two consecutive State budgets that have either decreased or held flat our revenue.  Regardless of what is shared through the media and some members of our legislature, we have not seen an increase in our revenue cap for the past 3 consecutive years and will not see an increase next year.  With the way school funding in Wisconsin works, no increase in the revenue cap means no “new” money for schools to have access to while expenditures continue to rise on a yearly basis; simply put, things do not get cheaper year after year for schools or any person or organization.  The levy override dollars will allow us to continue to not only improve and maintain our facilities but will also allow us to continue to offer the comprehensive programming and academic services we offer to our students and our community.  More information will be forthcoming as promised.   

As always, please feel free to contact me at any time.

Sincerely,
Craig G. Broeren
District Administrator
715-537-5612 ext. 402