Voters throughout the state will decide 82 school referendum questions in 61 school districts on November 6. The referendums seek a total of $1.4 billion in school improvements, including 11 to build new schools, 24 for safety and security improvements, 40 for site and building improvements, 28 for maintaining facilities and 12 for maintaining current educational program levels, according to a Wisconsin Policy Forum report.
The large number of referendums continues a trend that has seen voters approve more than 1,600 referendums totaling $12 billion since 1990, a trend that has been accelerating in recent years. Voters already have approved about $648.1 million in referendums in 48 school districts this year, and approval rates have been rising since 2003, hitting 79% in 2016. Recent polls have supported the trend of citizens wanting to maintain quality public schools, with voters saying they favor tax increases over cuts to school funding.
State Superintendent Tony Evers, who is running for governor, has said voters are demonstrating their strong support for public education despite incumbent Governor Scott Walker’s record of cutting state funding for schools. In effect, he says, the referendums amount to a “Scott Walker tax” that citizens are imposing on themselves to keep their schools healthy.
The largest school district referendums on the November 6 ballot are:
- Middleton-Cross Plains Area: $138.9 million
- Wauwatosa: $124.9 million
- Stevens Point: $75.9 million
- West De Pere (2 questions): $74.7 million
- Oak Creek–Franklin: $60.9 million
- Waukesha: $60.0 million
- Cedarburg: $59.8 million
- Monona Grove: $57.0 million
- Oregon: $44.9 million
- Burlington: $43.7 million
- Edgerton: $40.6 million
- Pewaukee: $39.7 million
- Viroqua: $36.8 million
- Evansville: $34.0 million
- Greendale: $33.8 million
- Wisconsin Dells: $33.7 million
- Poynette: $28.4 million
- Beloit Turner: $26.5 million
- Sevastopol: $25.1 million
- Waterford Graded: $24.9 million
- Holmen: $23.5 million
Find out details about all the school referendums at https://apps4.dpi.wi.gov/referendum/customreporting.aspx:
Wisconsin taxpayers will be asked to commit more than $1 billion in additional funding for their public schools in the November election. And if they pass at the rates seen in recent years, 2018 could be the highest year on record for dollars raised by school district referendums, according to a new report by the Wisconsin Policy Forum.