Wisconsin taxpayers voted on Tuesday to invest at least $1.3 billion of additional revenue into their local public schools. Jason Stein, research director with the Wisconsin Policy Forum, said dozens of school funding referendums were successful with voters, noting that the majority of the 82 that were on local ballots last week ended up passing.
Stein said there’s not any single factor that can account for referendum approvals — but a healthy economy is one. “I think the fact that the economy is doing pretty well and unemployment is low is a factor,” he said. “Clearly, a lot of factors had to come together, for this many districts to seek this much additional money from voters, and then you had to have a lot of factors come together for the voters to agree to give that to them.”
Stein said districts go to their voters for different reasons. “Do they have a lot more students and they need to build a new school, or a lot fewer students and they’re having trouble meeting their budgets due to declining state aid and revenue limits.”
Voters agreed to raise their own property taxes, in what’s been another record year for school district referendums.