Frequently Asked Questions

Referendum to Exceed the Revenue Limit

April 2, 2019

What is the District asking for?  The District is asking for permission to exceed the state set revenue limit by $375,000 for the 2019-20 school year, the same $375,000 for the 2020-2021 school year, a total of $500,000 for the 2021-22 school year and the same $500,000 for the 2022-23 school year.

Why is this necessary?  Over the past 8-10 years, the State of Wisconsin has made changes to the way schools are funded and, prior to the last 2 years, very little additional money was actually provided to schools to handle increases in overall costs.  These changes have created a structural problem in many school districts in the state. The total money that the District has to cover expenses for the 2018-19 school year is very similar to what it had in 2008-09 and we have more students and more expectations than we did back in 2008-09.

How much will this cost me?  The cost for the first year, if approved, will be about $1.20 per each thousand dollars of property value ($240 on a $200,000 house or piece of property).  The cost in the second year will drop a little bit and be about $1 per each thousand of property value or $100 on a $100,000 home. Year 3 is much harder to predict, but the cost should be about $1.40 / thousand of value and year 4 will cost about $1.30 / thousand of value.

What will happen if the referendum is not approved?  If the referendum is not approved, the total amount of money the district has to spend will stay the same and approximately $400,000 in reductions will need to be made in order to balance the budget.  This will result, based on the way schools are funded, in a tax increase of about $280,000 for the 2020-21 school year even though we are spending less money. While this does not seem logical, this is due to the current school funding system in our state.  Our state aid is significantly affected by how much money we spend in the previous school year so if we spend less money, we get less from the state. It is important for all to understand that if we make cuts, taxes will go up the following year and that money will essentially be sent to other school districts in the state while we will be doing less for and offering less to our children and communities.

What will the District do with the money if the referendum is approved?  The District will continue to run the programs that people have come to expect from us while at the same time working with other schools and regional partners to find better ways to run our schools in a more efficient manner while providing the best possible educational opportunities to our children.  

Is this a local issue or a state-wide issue?  This need for referendums has become a statewide issue.  Since March of 2015, there have been 228 referendums to exceed the revenue limit in Wisconsin with over 80% of those being approved.  Another 33 operational referendum questions will be decided on April 2nd.  This is a statewide issue and the new reality-based.

When is the election?  The vote on the referendum will take place on April 2nd, 2019.

Where do I vote?  You will be able to vote at your normal polling place in the city, village or township that you live in.

Where can I get more information? Please contact Mike Beighley at Whitehall Memorial Schools – 715-538-4374 Ext. 107 if you have any questions or would like more information.