Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst)

Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst)

A Republican state lawmaker from northern Wisconsin is speaking out against a bill from a member of his own party, which would limit when school districts can hold referendums.

The bill, offered by Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville), would only allow school funding referendums to be held during general elections and no sooner than two years apart. Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) told members of the Rhinelander Area Retired Educators Association on Wednesday that he has issues with the bill’s language. “I do not support that bill as its drafted. Maybe it’s appropriate to put some limitations in place. I don’t think this bill does it. I have some real reservations,” he said.

Tiffany also said the current school funding formula, which hurts schools with declining enrollments like most northern schools, is virtually impossible to change. He said legislators in districts where the formula works for them, mainly southern Wisconsin districts, don’t want to change it.

However, he said northern legislators did work get more money in the budget for what’s called sparsity aid and transportation funding, which did pass. “Schools that have very few kids per square mile there’s a sparsity aid…then we added a second thing…high cost transportation aid. So we got some schools additional revenue because they have to travel so far to pick up these kids.”

Some Northwoods school districts are spending more than a million dollars a year to transport students.

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