Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do other school districts in Wisconsin ask tax payers to exceed the revenue limits?
Referenda are not unique to the Marshfield Community alone. In the past five years, there have been 262 referenda to exceed the revenue limit held by many school district in Wisconsin. You can search referenda reporting here: https://apps4.dpi.wi.gov/Referendum/CustomReporting.aspx
In November, 67 Wisconsin school districts (including Marshfield) will ask tax payers to exceed the revenue limit to issue debt or recurring or non-recurring purposes. http://wsaa.org/saainfo/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Nov16Ref.pdf
Why not just go for a recurring referendum?
The school board has attempted to be sensitive to community members that have difficulty with increased taxes. To pass a recurring referendum means to permanently increase taxes for those individuals. This may be difficult for many who are on a fixed income. Further, to conclude that the District needs a certain amount of money permanently, when there is continually change in the how much is permitted by the legislature may be overreaching. Also, the community’s support for a referendum may well vary from one year to the next. There may be a time when the community does not support all the additional funds requested. A recurring referendum effectively removes the right for the taxpayer to ever be asked again if they support the amount being requested. Lastly, recurring referendums have a higher fail rate than non-recurring referendums. It would certainly be a higher risk if the school board took this approach. In our community, it just seems best we give taxpayers an opportunity every few years to weigh in on the subject.
Is the 3 million in addition to the current 2.5 million?
No, the 2.5 million expires at the end of the current 2016-17 school year. The 3 million will take effect for the 2017-18 school year. To learn more about the Budget Forecase please visit the Spending and Budget Forecast page.
What happens if the community does not support an operational referendum?
If the community does not pass an operational referendum, the Board of Education will need to cut the district's operating budget by approximately $3 million.
A list of specific reductions has been identified and will likely be approved at a future school board meeting. It is likely the District will need to reduce staffing levels, which will mean increased class sizes, and also reduce the number of academic, co-curricular and athletic program offerings at all levels. General building maintenance, technology and curriculum budgets will also be reduced. You can view a list of the reductions here.
If the referendum passes, all items on the reductions list will be preserved.
Does this referendum support the building of a new athletic complex or facility?
The Board of Education has clarified this referendum is for operational expenses only and is not related to the athletic facilities renovations being considered. Further discussion on financing and fundraising for athletic facilities improvements will be discussed at future Board meetings.
Would the new iPad/Personalized Learning initiative be considered on the reductions list if the referendum would fail?
No, the new devices are not an item on the reduction list if the referendum were to fail. Each year the District is expected to save money in other areas due to moving several resources onto the iPad. Examples would include less printing costs with turning in assignments electronically and ordering less consumable resources such as workbooks with use of online worksheets.
iPads for Every Student?! Where is the money coming from?
For many years the School District has budgeted and purchased resources in different forms including technology, digital, and traditional tools. With iPads for every student, departments within the school system have reallocated funds to adjust to the need for more and different instructional tools. The use of technology in and outside a classroom is driven by the educational needs of students and teachers. Many classroom resources such as books and activities can be accessed and enhanced using technology. Some resources in classrooms come in the form of digital as well as hard cover and tangible manipulatives.
What happens to taxes if a referendum passes?
Taxes will increase around 25 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. If you own a $100,000 home your taxes will increase approximately $25.
What happens to taxes if a referendum fails?
If the referendum fails, the reductions list that was approved during the October 12, 2016 school board meeting will be implemented. This means the items on the list will no longer be part of the proposed 2017-18 budget. It would also mean that the tax rate would decrease by an estimated $1.25 (as opposed to a 25 cent increase if the referendum passed). This decrease is due to the fact that currently taxpayers are paying on a previously approved $2.5 Million referendum for the 2016-17 school year. Other variables influence tax rate as well, such as property value, so keep in mind these estimated tax rate changes only reflect the impact of referenda.
What has the District done to cut expenses?
In any given year, the administration and school board pain-shakenly review every aspect of the operational budget to seek efficiencies wherever possible. Savings in years’ past have come from reductions to employee benefits, consolidation of positions, elimination of courses with low enrollments, and tying staff wages to inflationary increases. The school district has also implemented a number of energy conservation measures in its schools, and has yielded significant savings through the refinancing its long-term debt.
Where can we vote on November 8?
Voting polls can be found by visiting the city's website.
District Polling Place 1, 2, 3, 4, 10 and City Portion of Marathon County Oak Avenue Community Center
201 S. Oak Ave.
5, 6, 7 Wildwood Station
1800 S. Roddis Ave.
8, 9 Community Center (Old Library)
211 E. 2nd Street
Read more at http://ci.marshfield.wi.us/departments/city_clerk/elections_and_voting.php#xTkAhLwV4rl0lhzS.99