Operating Referendum 2018
On January 22, the School District of La Crosse Board of Education unanimously authorized an operating referendum for community vote. If approved on April 3, 2018, the referendum will provide $4,175,000 per year for five years (2019/20 – 2023/24) for maintaining educational programs, district facilities, and replacing technology. There will be no increase in local school taxes from current levels as a result of a passed referendum.
The district’s request comes as the current five-year operating referendum is set to expire on June 30, 2019. The referendum question asks voters to continue with the same amount of funding for another five years.
“Preparing our students with relevant skills and experiences to fill available jobs and meet the needs of our community’s employers is critical,” said superintendent of school Randy Nelson. “This requires intentional planning and building our educational programs, in partnership with our community.”
The funding will sustain current educational offerings and highly-qualified staff to serve the district’s 21 schools.
“This district continues to make a positive difference in the lives of our community’s children and families,” said Board of Education president Connie Troyanek. “We support and celebrate the district’s hard work in continuing to offer remarkable opportunities for our students.”
District administrators share the Board’s commitment to informing all residents of the referendum facts through a series of mailings, the district website, and informational sessions to be held over the coming weeks leading up to the referendum.
Operating Referendum FAQ
Why does the school district have to go to referendum?
The need for school districts like La Crosse to go to referendum is the result of a 1993 law that changed the way Wisconsin schools are funded. The law requires a local Board of Education to seek citizen approval through a referendum to increase the district’s revenue limit authority for operating expenses. Therefore, a referendum question will be on the April 3 ballot asking voters to renew the expiring referendum.
What will the referendum money be used for?
Funds from a successful operating referendum will allow the district to maintain a wide range of academic courses, programs, and services for all students. We can continue smaller class sizes at our elementary schools. We will be able to update computer labs, increase the number of 1:1 technology available to students, upgrade technology infrastructure in all of our schools, and increase internet bandwidth. A successful referendum will also allow for continued additions and upgrades to safety and security solutions in all of our buildings.
What is the impact on my taxes from a ‘yes’ vote?
The question on the April 3 ballot will ask voters to continue the same amount of funding for another five years. As a result, there will be no increase in local school taxes from current levels as a result of a passed referendum.
What did the expiring referendum support?
The five-year referendum that was passed in 2014 supported educational programs, building safety and maintenance, and technology. This allowed the school district to maintain classroom size (1:18) in all kindergarten through 3rd grade classrooms, maintain the many course offerings at the middle and high schools, update computer labs, increase the number of 1:1 technology available to students, upgrade technology infrastructure in all of our schools, increase internet bandwidth, and add and upgrade safety and security solutions in all of our buildings.
How is the amount of this referendum different than the current referendum that is expiring?
This referendum amount is the same as the 2014 referendum. The question on the April 3 ballot will ask voters to continue the same amount of funding for another five years. There will be no increase in local school taxes from current levels as a result of a passed referendum. The funds will support educational programs, building safety and maintenance, and technology – the same priorities that were outlined in the 2014 referendum.
Why are residents being asked to continue the current referendum?
The funds the district levies from the operating referendum are used each year to support instruction and operations of the district. Those annual expenses do not go away.
Why is the district choosing to go to referendum?
Since 2004, the district has relied on operating referenda as a critical piece of the district’s operating budget. The Board of Education chose to ask citizens to simply renew the referendum at the same rate, despite knowing that all of the district’s needs and inflationary costs will not be met.
What happens if the referendum doesn’t pass?
An unsuccessful referendum will require us to reduce instructional programs and course offerings, increase class sizes, and force cuts to existing staff. We will also need to delay the replacement of outdated technology and postpone or eliminate facility upkeep projects in our schools through substantial budget cuts.
We’ve scheduled two community meetings to answer any questions you may have about the upcoming April 3 operating referendum. Please join us.
Saturday, March 17, 2018
Central High School auditorium
1801 Losey Blvd. South, La Crosse
Thursday, March 22, 2018
Logan High School theater
1500 Ranger Drive, La Crosse