Elkhorn voters need to understand meaning of ‘estimated zero tax’

Two referendums coming up in Elkhorn April 7, both to raise our taxes for school funding increases… again.

Given the last referendums, we shouldn’t need any additional school buildings for a few generations since we are about to pay off what we funded in the last referendum that raised our taxes. Maintaining the same tax burden by passing additional referendums going forward, instead of letting taxes go back to pre-referendum levels isn’t an “estimated zero tax” impact. It’s the same tax increase as the last time they went up!

One referendum seeks the revenue to procure an outdated, overpriced building for a virtual school. Why does the district need to spend $6 million on a building worth only one million to accommodate what is supposed to be an online, virtual charter school? The majority of students that attend the Options Charter School do so virtually, on-line or part-time locally. Again, you need $6 million for a brick and mortar structure why?

The other referendum is seeking to exceed the revenue limits Wisconsinites established under the Walker administration to try and reign in excessive government spending. This time for an ongoing and recurring withdrawal from the taxpayers for $200,000 for maintenance and tech needs. The key word here is recurring. This means that the school district will never have to ask if they can continue to exceed the budget by $200,000.00 ever. Once passed, this referendum expense will be recurring forever. Until they decide that isn’t enough and they want even more tax dollars.

Apparently we don’t have the money to maintain the buildings that already exist, so, not only do they want a never ending recurring referendum raising your taxes but, the school district wants to buy another old school building that will need to be renovated and require even more maintenance expenses. That doesn’t seem logical.

In my research I’ve yet to find anyone working for the Elkhorn Area School District Administration that isn’t making around $100,000 a year, not including pension, healthcare and dental benefits, etc. If we are being asked year over year for additional taxes to fund their actions then perhaps looking into their overhead costs to the taxpayer and the current budget would be a good place to start to find funding for building maintenance.

Given the current state of things with the Coronavirus spreading rapidly, it would seem that burdening our workers and families who are losing pay and jobs with even higher taxes, is the last thing taxpayers need now. In these times of great concern and financial uncertainties is not the time to impose yet another unnecessary tax increase for another school building that well, we really don’t need.

I believe Options Charter School is worthwhile and beneficial, as originally designed, but not at such a major taxpayer expense that also comes with exceeding revenue limits forever to maintain existing facilities.


Dan Thomson



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