44 School Referenda On April 7!

From the Cleveland Municipal School District Visions of Democracy project, click on the image for more.

From the Cleveland Municipal School District Visions of Democracy project, click on the image for more.

Today,  April 7, 2009 voters in 30 Wisconsin school districts will decide 44 referenda questions.  April 21 brings a 31st in Cuba City.  On April 28 a 32st district, Salem, will vote on a referendum for the fourth time in less than a year.

Salem is an extreme case, but at least 10 of the districts seeking operating funds have had failed operating referenda in the last two years and five seeking operating funds are districts facing the “off the cliff” loss of funds scenario that hits when a non-recurring referendum runs out.

There are a total of 32 operating referenda, 9 recurring and 23 non recurring (including 3 of the 5 districts on the edge of the cliff because previous non-recurring referenda are expiring); the remaining 12 votes are to issue debt for building, maintenance, refurbishing and upgrading projects. Before listing and linking,  some context and a call to action.

[Note:  Wisconsin Heights was missed in the original post.  It has been added below, but the rest has not been updated.]

Not counting the April 2009 votes, since April 1, 2007 there have been 252 referenda in Wisconsin; since April 1, 2005 there have been 481.

This growing reliance on regular referenda is perhaps the clearest evidence that the way our state funds education is broken.  Too much time and energy is being misdirected at securing basic funding instead of educating, too many communities are being split over these votes instead of united to give their children the opportunities to create a better future.

It is well past time to fix it.

Get involved in the effort by attending the April 21, 2009 Assembly Education Committee hearing on the School Finance Network proposal (info on both here), and joining the School Finance Network and the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools (it is just fine to do all of the above, I have or will).

The official details of all the referenda are here; Below are links to more information on the ballot measures (search AMPS for more on many)

Operating, Non-Recurring:

Wisconsin Heights:  Newsletter.

Wheatland J1: District Site; District Press Release, News Story “Wheatland Center to vote on revenue cap referendum.”

Washington Island District Referendum Info.

Ripon District Referendum Page; PolicyOptions.org, Brief (good stuff)

Phelps District Referendum Page.

Oshkosh Area District Referendum Page; News Stories, “Details emerge on Oshkosh school district’s three question referendum in April,” “Teachers organization underwriting majority of referendum ‘Yes’ vote push.”

Oakfield District Site; “What makes Oakfield special?’

Northland Pines Referendum Page.

North Lakeland District Site; News Stories, “North Lakeland voters to consider referendum Tuesday,” “Vought, committee make case for proposed new levy referendum.”

Mineral Point District Referendum Page.

Middleton-Cross Plains District “Community Conversation;” Referendum Page; Ellen Lindgren: “Middleton’s Kromrey School should be replaced.”

Maple Dale-Indian HillDistrict Site; News Story, “Maple Dale-Indian Hill School Board votes for referendum.”

Manawa District Referendum Page; Editorial: “Manawa referendum helps protect schools.”

Loyal District Site; News Story, “School District of Loyal Asks Taxpayers to Reach Into Pockets.”

Kiel Area District Referendum Page; Letters to the Editor.

Horicon District Site; News Story, “Horicon to pursue school referendum.”

Herman District Referendum Page.

Elcho District Referendum Page, News Stories, “Elcho school district leaders push for referendum” (with video), “Elcho heads to referendum.”

Bowler District Site; News Story, “Bowler school district leaders asking taxpayers for referendum.”

Birchwood District Site.

Benton District Site; Fact Sheet; PowerPoint.

Albany District Referendum Page; News Story: “Albany voters face two school referendums.

Operating, Recurring:

Siren:  District Site; News Story “Siren looks at school referendum.”

Riverdale District Referendum Page

Reedsville District Referendum Page; News Stories, “Reedsville public schools facing financial crisis,” “Reedsville schools’ future up to voters.”

Reedsburg District Referendum Page; News Story, “District will leave no stone unturned.”

Paris J1: District Fact Sheet; News Story: “Will Paris deal with budget shortfall or dissolve the district?

Merrill Area District Referendum Page; News Stories, “Leaders like Merrill referendum’s chances,” “Merrill will try again for school aid.”

Medford AreaDistrict Site; Building the Medford Community.

Issue Debt

West Bend District Referendum Page.

Ripon District Referendum Page; PolicyOptions.org, Brief (good stuff).

Oshkosh Area District Referendum Page; News Stories, “Details emerge on Oshkosh school district’s three question referendum in April,” “Teachers organization underwriting majority of referendum ‘Yes’ vote push.”

Middleton-Cross Plains District “Community Conversation;” Referendum Page; Ellen Lindgren: “Middleton’s Kromrey School should be replaced.”

Medford AreaDistrict Site; Building the Medford Community.

Maple Dale-Indian HillDistrict Site; News Story, “Maple Dale-Indian Hill School Board votes for referendum.”

Elk Mound Area District Referendum Page, News Video; Blog post “Referendums are a tough sell,” News Story,” Elk Mound Board OKs spending referendum.”

Cudahy District Referendum Page, News Story.,” Roof work tops Cudahy referendum spending list.”

Turnout will be low in most places.  So many futures riding on so few votes.

I wish them all the best.

Vote Yes for Schools!

Thomas J. Mertz

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Filed under "education finance", Budget, education, Elections, Local News, Referenda, referendum, School Finance, Uncategorized, We Are Not Alone

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