On Jan. 23 the Southern Door School Board voted to present a two-year, non-recurring referendum to the community authorizing the district budget to exceed its revenue limit by $936,000 for each of the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years, for non-recurring purposes consisting of ongoing operational expenses necessary to maintain current educational programs and services.
An operational referendum asks voter permission to exceed the state-imposed revenue limit for the purpose of funding annual school operations. It is not a referendum to incur debt for construction of new schools or remodeling current schools, asks for voter permission to exceed the revenue limit for a set number of years, after which authorization expires and revenue limits return to state-imposed levels.
The current school funding formula does not allow increases in school district revenues to keep pace with inflation and places a greater burden for supporting education on the local taxpayers. The need for an operational referendum is something that impacts all Door County schools as well as many other districts in Wisconsin. Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance recently reported “To get more money into school budgets without increasing property taxes, lawmakers must either 1) increase revenue limits and general aid at the same time or 2) increase the per pupil categorical aid payments to school districts.” We do this so our students can meet future challenges and be contributing members of our global society.
The referendum question will be presented to Southern Door voters on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. In the coming months the district will offer informational sessions, giving voters the opportunity to learn more about the district’s need for the proposed operational referendum.