Going to referendum for funding is the ‘new normal’ for school districts

Because the state is so severely underfunding pubic schools in Wisconsin, school districts are turning to referendums like never before.

On November 8, voters in 69 school districts throughout the state will vote on traditional referendums to help their schools meet funding needs, bringing the total number of school districts that have held referendums this year to 156.

“If you talk to people in Madison like (Republican Sen.) Luther Olsen, they’ll tell you, (it’s) at the point where districts can’t wait to get money from the state, so they’re going out to the voters,” Lodi School District Business Manager Daniel Bush in an article by wiscnews.com / Portage Daily Register.

“If you’d have asked folks six years ago about where we’d be at, nobody would have predicted the trend we’re in,” Bush said. “For the time being, personally, I don’t see much of a change in the trend. If people feel things need to change, they need to let their public officials know.”

“As revenue limit flexibility has been frozen, going to referendum is the option left on the table for districts if they want to spend more on educational costs,” said Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction spokesman Tom McCarthy.

Charles Poches, district administrator for Portage Community School District, quoted in the article, called the overall lack of funding for schools “a problem all over the state.”

“Something has to change,” he said.

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Lodi referendum the ‘new normal’ for schools in state

LODI – Lodi School District’s proposed referendum seems to be the “new normal” for schools across Wisconsin, the district’s leaders said Friday. Lodi is seeking an operational referendum that would allow the district to exceed the revenue limit by $1.7 million a year for five years.