There are dozens of school funding referendums on the ballot around Wisconsin. Dan Rossmiller, Director of Government Relations for the Wisconsin Association of School Districts, says school districts have long relied on referendums for one-time expenses such as building projects. But increasingly, requests to temporarily exceed state-imposed levy limits are used to simply to maintain programs and classes.
Rossmiller said that the use of such temporary measures often puts districts “into a cycle, where as the old referendum comes to an end, you either need to go back to a new referendum, or typically make significant cuts in programs or staff.”
It’s now been more than 20 years since the state legislature created a school funding formula which restricts how much districts can get through a combination of local taxes and state aid. There are 72 referendums before voters in districts across the state tomorrow — 34 of which are requests to exceed state-imposed revenue limits.