Why do we need to go to referendum?
The legislative formula for funding schools is designed to address annual operational costs, not long-term needs. A majority of Wisconsin school districts struggle to fund the ongoing and continuous maintenance of facilities.
As with any business, operational costs, salaries and benefits continue to trend upward. Annual district costs continue to rise, but the legislative levy cap hasn’t been adjusted. Annual budgets don’t allow districts to earmark extensive dollars for “maintenance savings” that address generational costs. It’s common for Wisconsin school districts to delay maintenance in order to meet annual budget needs and to seek community investment in generational costs via a referendum.
What happens if the referendum fails?
Buildings risk additional and perhaps extensive damage to infrastructure. Not making the requisite repairs or replacements could result in further costs and classrooms left susceptible to disruption due to ceiling leaks, unpredictable classroom temperatures, or leaking doors and windows. The school board will need to divert more Fund 10 dollars for emergency repairs instead of investing in programming and staff salaries. Non-essential expenses, such as in-town bussing may be suspended or discontinued.
What can the public expect before April?
In February, the district will begin communicating with the public about the district’s needs via the Referendum 2022 tab on the district website, the Pierce County Journal, the district newsletter and on social media. Open houses and site visits will be open to the public in March, so people can see the repairs needed.