Wisconsin Dells School District is proposing an operating referendum to place on the spring 2021 election ballot.
The school board will vote to place the referendum question on the ballot at its Jan. 18 meeting. The meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Wisconsin Dells High School band room.
Deadline to place the question on the ballot is Jan. 25. District Administrator Terry Slack said the Jan. 18 date allows the board more time to act on the resolution in case winter weather affects the ability to hold a meeting. The exact wording of the question describing the referendum’s impact on taxpayers will be drafted by the school district’s legal team to present at the meeting.
The total amount of the referendum will be determined in the resolution presented Jan. 18, Slack said. The proposed operating referendum comes three years after taxpayers authorized the school district to borrow $33,685,000 to build the new high school on Brew Farm Road that opened in September.
Slack said the mill rate would increase to a projected $7.95 per $1,000 of assessed value if taxpayers approve the referendum in the 2021-22 fiscal year. The mill rates would then increase to a projected $8.15 in 2022-23, $8.36 in 2023-24, $8.60 in 2024-25 and $8.85 in 2025-26. He said the final year or two of the referendum might be offset by about .20 cents since TIF district money might apply, but the school district is still verifying that information.
Slack said the proposed mill rates are a “worst case scenario” based on projected future enrollment and equalized valuation numbers, which looks at growth in the Dells’ school district. That could affect final numbers. Looking ahead, the two items Slack said could impact the referendum is the state’s biennium budget and enrollment at the school district, which could affect aid.
Wisconsin Dells School District’s current mill rate is $7.63 per $1,000 of assessed value, which was approved when the board passed the 2020-21 budget. The amounts are less than the state average of around $9.58, Slack said.
At previous board meetings last year, Wisconsin Dells school officials discussed proposing the referendum to cover expenses related to the construction of the new high school and provide additional services. The board planned to place the item on the ballot in November 2020 but decided to wait until spring 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In other business, after a closed session, the board approved to hire Dakota Ziemianczyk as Elementary Special Education Teacher at Spring Hill Elementary School, Tiffany Clary as Administrative Assistant to the Director of Curriculum & Instruction and Shannon Mawbey as Administrative Assistant at Wisconsin Dells High School.
The school board also approved to enter into an agreement with the Stoughton Area School District to rent the high school’s facilities for full athletic practice access for basketball and wrestling teams. Details are still being worked out. Board Member Bob McClyman voted in opposition to the item.
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