By Dave Fidlin


With the countdown clock fast approaching on the upcoming fall general election, Whitewater Unified school officials are moving full steam ahead in sharing with the public the district’s $12.8 million operational referendum.

District Administrator Mark Elworthy provided the School Board with an update on the communications process at a meeting Sept. 24. The board approved going to referendum in mid-August, placing the question on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Elworthy provided the board with several draft pieces of literature the district is sending out to homes.

School Board member Jim Stewart said he wanted the district’s communications efforts to make it clear the district’s spending request has a beginning and end date that spans four years.

“It’s easy to overlook,” Stewart said.

Voters will be asked to approve exceeding state caps by $2 million in the 2019-20 school year, $2.8 million in 2020-21, $3.6 million in 2021-22 and $4.4 million in 2022-23.

Elworthy also touched on the district’s informational meetings, which are taking place within various municipalities across WWUSD’s footprint. To date, Elworthy and other district officials have met with residents in the City and Town of Whitewater.

Upcoming meetings are slated at the other townships included in WWUSD’s service area.

The district will host remaining information sessions at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, at Johnstown Town Hall; 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, at Richmond Town Hall; and 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, at Lima Town Hall.

WWUSD has held several referendums in recent years that have been successful.

Two years ago, the district posed its $23.5 million capital referendum that went toward the facilities upgrades, many having been undertaken this summer.

In November 2014, district residents also approved a four-year operational referendum, mirroring the one on this fall’s ballot. It totaled $4.8 million and runs through next June.

At WWUSD’s regular August meeting, Elworthy shared the difference between capital and operational referendums.

“An operational referendum is so we can keep the doors open,” Elworthy said.

During the recent discussion, Matthew Sylvester-Knudtson, director of business services, also reported a Spanish language version of the referendum information is available on the district’s website, available at www.


Board approves budget

In other business Sept. 24, the WWUSD School Board approved the district’s budget for the 2018-19 school year, following a public hearing.

WWUSD anticipates bringing in $23.56 million in revenue to cover expenses associated with the current budget cycle, which began July 1 and runs through June 30, 2019.

Sylvester-Knudtson laid out the budget details at the meeting, which includes a property tax levy of $16.5 million. A year ago, WWUSD levied taxes in the amount of $15.7 million.

On the whole, the mill rate throughout WWUSD also is set to increase, though specific figures could vary from one municipality to the next.

Based on the formula of $1,000 of equalized value, the tax rate for the current school year has been set at $11.79, up from the rate of $11.52 per $1,000 of equalized value a year ago.


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