Officials from the school district that had the most expensive referendum in the state in Tuesday’s election are making other plans. Only 38-percent of voters said yes to Racine Unified School District’s request for $83.5 million to replace five elementary schools and renovate five others.
School Board President Bill Van Atta told WRJN it was “tough timing” for the referendum as events in Madison changed the political climate in a time of already strained budgets. Van Atta said with the average school building being 70-years-old there will have to be “an ongoing conversation” about the needs. He predicts they’ll eventually have to come back with a smaller request. Meanwhile the district will use $3 million from an expiring referendum to address building maintenance issues the rest of this year.
The state’s second and third largest school referendums on the ballot were also shot down. River Falls voters knocked down a $39 million referendum that would have paid for a variety of electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and energy improvements. In Johnson Creek, voters said no to build a new elementary, middle school, and high school facility for $29 million.
Some smaller referendums held in the almost 30 school districts did pass. Voters in Poynette said yes to $1.3 million dollars in various building improvements. The Spencer and Wisconsin Heights districts were among those getting approval to exceed their state-mandated revenue limits.