About 50 Wisconsin school districts asking voters for funding to cover projects, operations

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MADISON, Wisconsin — Many Wisconsin voters will see referenda to raise money for about 50 local school districts on Election Day ballots.

A majority of the referenda on Tuesday's ballots are for covering the operational expenses of current educational programs. The amounts of money requested range from $150,000 for parking lot maintenance in Princeton to $127.5 million for building and technology upgrades in Racine, Wisconsin Public Radio (http://bit.ly/1umBmM5 ) reported.

School districts rely on referenda for two reasons, according to Dan Rossmiller, the director of government relations at the Wisconsin School Boards Association.

"One is to get voter approval for building projects where they have to borrow money and incur debt," he said. "And the other reason is to allow voters to exceed the revenue limits which the state has imposed on school districts."

The school district in Florence County has been saved by a series of successful referenda after it was nearly forced to dissolve in 2005.

"We've been cutting, sharing, trying to get more and more efficient in so many ways," said Ben Niehaus, the district's superintendent, who also oversees the Goodman-Armstrong Creek School District. "Whether it's food service, custodial, central office, administration — I'm shared with another district. We're down to the bone, there's nowhere else to go."

The Florence District is asking voters on Tuesday to approve $2.7 million for funding continued operation and maintenance through 2017.


Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, http://www.wpr.org

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