School District seeks additional funding Operational referendum on April ballot

The East Troy Community School District has an operational referendum on the spring ballot. The district is asking for a non-reoccurring three year, $3 million per year increase in funding from the taxpayers. The estimated school tax mill rate increase will be about $1.40 per year per $1,000 of property value, according to the district.

      At Monday night’s School Board meeting, multiple people spoke in favor of the referendum, including residents, parents and teachers. No one spoke out against the referendum.

      The speakers highlighted the benefits of supporting the youth of the community through adequate school funding. They also cautioned that if the referendum fails, it will put the community as a whole in peril because a community without a thriving school system doesn’t attract families to move there.

      If the referendum doesn’t pass in April, the School District is looking at having to cut $2 million from the budget for next school year alone. Cuts will be deep, according to the district, including cutting teachers, staff and programming.

      An early estimate for the school year of 2023-24 has a structural deficit of $2.3 million, according to School District officials. This includes the ESSER expenses carried over from the 2022-23 school year with ongoing deficits projected of $3.5 million for 2024-25 and $5.2 million for 2025-26.

      “We cannot afford to cut $2 million in staffing,” parent Heather Glass said to the board.

      According to the School District website, An operational referendum is necessary because of lack of state funding, inflationary impacts, increasingly competitive market, one-time federal funds (ESSER) no longer available to help sustain ongoing operations.

      “A three year operational referendum allows us to help maintain our educational system for our students,” the website states.

      Town of Troy Chairman John Kendall and his wife, Jane, both spoke in favor of the referendum.

      “The three municipalities are definitely behind the School Board and referendum,” John Kendall told the board, adding they are doing their best to support the School District. “We’re making phone calls, going door to door and whatever we can do (to help).”

Referendum question on the April 4 ballot

      “Shall the East Troy Community School District, Walworth and Waukesha Counties, Wisconsin that the revenues included in the School District budget be authorized to exceed the revenue limit specified in Section 121.19, Wisconsin Statutes, by $3,000,000 per year beginning with the 2023-2024 school year and ending with the 2025-2026 school year, for non-recurring purposes consisting of operational expenses to help maintain existing programs and staffing?”

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