School officials, board have stressed engagement in referendum talks

By Todd Mishler

Copy Editor

They’ve conducted nine public listening sessions, mailed informational fliers and provided extensive online resources — in English and Spanish — on the district’s website.

So, if anybody doesn’t know about the Whitewater Unified School District’s referendum before Election Day, then they likely won’t be voting anyway.

In August, the seven-member Whitewater School Board approved adding the operational question to the Nov. 6 ballot.

The nonrecurring referendum covers four fiscal years, 2019-20 through 2022-23.

District residents would not see a tax rate hike on their bills in the first year, but each of the final three years they would inherit increases of $30 per $100,000 of home value per year.

A key point is that it would replace a 2014 referendum that is set to expire in June 2019.

It also follows a separate $23.5 million capital referendum that voters passed in November 2016, which updated and upgraded the district’s five school buildings.

Officials say that exceeding the state-imposed revenue limits is necessary in an environment in which the district’s per-student cap remains at 2010-11 levels.

“Six other school districts are going to operational referendums, and there are only eight in southeastern Wisconsin that don’t use them,” WUSD Administrator Mark Elworthy said. “We understand people’s concerns with this being our third referendum in five years….”

Pick up the Nov. 1 Whitewater Register for the rest of the story.



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