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A RENEWAL FOR NOW AND FOR THE FUTURE

At the October 27th Board meeting the Wheatland J1 School Board approved an operating referendum for the April 2022 ballot. The referendum is a renewal of the previous operating referendum for the next four years. The referendum will represent no additional tax impact for local property owners. While, it represents a reduction from the previous referendum, it is needed to continue to operate the school district at current levels. The District is asking for $525,000 for each of the next 4 years (the expiring referendum was $625,000 for 4 years).

When the Board asked the community to approve the last operating referendum, they committed to be good financial stewards and only use the levy authority needed. They have fulfilled that promise. In two of the four years, the district did not use their full levy authority granted by the operating referendum, all while reducing the overall tax levy. In the second year of the most recent operating referendum (2019-20) the District under levied by $210,563 and in the third year (2020-21) the District under levied by $151,258. The Board made the decision to keep the tax levy flat or reduce it slightly in all four years of the current operating referendum. In those four years the mill rate has also decreased from 8.66 to 6.83. This demonstrates the success of the Wheatland District and commitment to the strong stewardship of local tax dollars. 

The Referendum Story

THE HISTORY

  • Wheatland was one of the districts that had an early need due to low spending back in 1992 when revenue limits were introduced

  • Initially it was the perfect storm, declining enrollment, dropping state aid and fixed revenue limit

  • Previously Wheatland had upside down open enrollment which contributed to financial woes (2012-13: 56 student enrolling in and 83 enrolling out)

  • Only way to increase the revenue limit is through a referendum

  • Overall costs increase every year due to inflation and cost of benefits

Data

THE NEED

  • The funding mechanism for schools in Wisconsin is broken

  • Statewide since April of 2017, 342 operating referendums have been attempted in Wisconsin

  • Wheatland's previous operating referendum expires this year

  • The expiring referendum increased the revenue limit by $625,000 so without a referendum there would be a significant decrease in available revenue to operate the school

THE REALITY SINCE THE LAST REFERENDUM

The District...

  • created and supported a Fund 46 for future facility needs

  • dramatically reduced the mill rate from 8.6 to 6.8

  • increased open enrollment dramatically allowing the District to reduce the impact to local taxpayers

  • reduced the tax levy in all 4 years of referendum (7 of the last 8 years)

  • provided additional contributions to Fund 39 for future debt management

  • did not use the full levy authority in 2 of the 4 years (under levied in year two by $210,563 and $151,258 in year three)

  • eliminated need to short-term borrow after 2018-19, saving $10,000 - $20,000 annually

  • paid off $500,000 QZAB Loan (Fund 38) in 2018-19 (2 years early freeing up $56,000 in 19-20 and 20-21 to go toward instruction and saved $5000 in fees

TAX LEVY DECREASED IN 7 OF THE LAST 8 YEARS

YEAR

LEVY

DECREASE/INCREASE

2014-2015

$3,337,320

DECREASE

2015-2016

$3,335,845

DECREASE

2016-2017

$3,312,139

DECREASE

2017-2018

$3,311,500

DECREASE

2018-2019

$3,719,833

INCREASE (Facility Referendum)

2019-2020

$3,725,916

DECREASE

2020-2021

$3,720,734

DECREASE

2021-2022

$3,719,885

DECREASE

THE QUESTION // BALLOT LANGUAGE

"Shall the Joint School District Number 1, Towns of Wheatland, Brighton, Randall and Salem, Kenosha County, Wisconsin be authorized to exceed the revenue limit specified in Section 121.91, Wisconsin Statutes, by $525,000 per year, for the 2022-2023 school year through the 2025-2026 school year, for non-recurring purposes consisting of maintaining the current level of educational programming and operating the District?

[ ] YES

[ ] NO

Vote

School

UPCOMING EVENTS

Referendum Informational Presentation

  • Wednesday, February 23 at 6:00 PM

  • Tuesday, March 15 at 6:00 PM

QUESTIONS

Contact Information