Beyond the high-profile contests held Tuesday, voters in 61 Wisconsin school districts faced a record 82 funding referenda questions. Those ballot questions total about $1.4 billion.
Including Tuesday’s results, Wisconsin taxpayers have approved a record 2 billion dollars in referenda so far in 2018.
Voters approved at least 56 of 61 school districts’ referenda amounting one-point-four billion dollars.
Voters in the Middleton-Cross Plains School District approved the pair of referenda worth $143.7 million by over a 2 to 1 margin.
These referenda will pay for a new elementary school, additions to the 89-year-old high school and more.
Middleton-Cross Plains spokesperson Perry Hibner emphasizes the district’s need for additional capacity.
“We’ll be building a new elementary school, that will be our seventh elementary school,” Hibner said. “That will help us relieve crowding at the elementary schools. Two of our six elementary schools are over capacity right now, and three of the other four are within 94 to 98 percent.”
Dorothy Paler was a member of the Middleton-Cross Plains School District’s Facility Planning and “YES” Committees, the latter of which sought to gain support for the district’s two referenda on the November 6th ballot.
She noticed that the gubernatorial race both dissuaded and persuaded taxpayers.
“The gubernatorial race did come up numerous times, but it sort of cut both ways,” Paler said. “Some people were quite concerned that he was going to raise their taxes … and could they really afford raising taxes for the school district. Fortunately, I really think that it cut the other way. People said, you know what, we have neglected education in Wisconsin for far to long.”
Regardless of the work that Governor-elect Evers may or may not achieve with a majority Republican state legislature to increase funding for public education, schools will likely continue to use referenda to increase funding.
“Both parties have at least right now talked about needing to do more for K-12 public education, Hibner says. “So were optimistic that gov and republican controlled legislature will find common ground.”
Including the approximately $648 million dollars in referenda that voters previously supported this year, Wisconsin taxpayers have approved over $2 billion in referenda in 2018.
That total surpasses the previous record of one-point-seven billion passed in 2016.
Referenda in the Goodman-Armstrong, River Valley, Viroqua Area, and West Salem School Districts failed, while election results could not be found for the Loyal School District.
Shaun Soman reported this story.