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Voters to decide on dozens of school referenda statewide

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Voters to decide on dozens of school referenda statewide

March 27, 2023 2:30 PM CDT


Madison, Wis. (CIVIC MEDIA) – On April 4, voters across Wisconsin will decide whether certain school districts will be able to receive additional taxpayer money to fund facilities projects or pay for operational expenses.

In total, 82 referenda are on the ballots this spring, which is about the same number of referenda questions asked by school districts in the Fall 2022 election and the Spring 2022 election, which each had 81 referenda for a total of 162 in 2022’s two elections, according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

The largest referendum on spring ballots belongs to the Marshfield School District, where voters are being asked to approve a $99.5 million question to improve school facilities at multiple buildings. Other districts asking to be issued debt in the form of general obligation bonds to fund facilities projects exceeding $30 million include Deerfield Community (Dane County), Wautoma Area (Waushara County), Oconomowoc (Waukesha County) and Rosendale-Brandon (Fond du Lac County).

Other districts are asking to exceed levy caps set by the state to pay for operational or maintenance expenses on a non-recurring basis. Manitowoc School District ($61.7 million from 2023-24 through 2027-28) and La Crosse School District ($60 million from 2023-24 through 2028-29) are the two largest on ballots this spring.

Last fall, 64 out of 81 referenda questions passed, or 79%. Last spring, 65 of 81 questions were voted “yes,” or 80%. In Spring 2021’s election, just 42 of 70 (60%) of school referenda questions passed, although that vote was held within the first year of the coronavirus pandemic.

Taxpayers have become accustomed to school district referenda on ballots, but the last two years, municipal referenda have become more common as well as counties, cities, villages and townships have asked for more funds to pay for services such as police, firefighters and ambulances as well as to repair roadways or maintain public spaces. Dozens of these measures were placed on ballots in 2022, and over two dozen more are up for a vote in the spring election, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

The Spring Election will be held on April 4, 2022. You can find out if you are registered to vote, check on the status of your absentee ballot, see a sample ballot or find your voting location at MyVote Wisconsin.

You can see a full list of 2023 Spring Election referendum on the Wisconsin Elections Commission website.

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