Voters rejected a five-year, $4.8 million operating referendum for Wisconsin Dells School District in the April 6 election.
Unofficial results provided by the district show the question was defeated with a 55% to 45% margin with 1,019 “no” votes and 828 “yes” votes.
If taxpayers authorized the referendum, it would have gradually raised taxes over the course of five years on a recurring basis. The district would have used the additional funding to keep the elementary and middle school classes at current sizes, retain teachers and staff and maintain student services.
The tax impact would have increased the projected mill rate from $7.62 per $1,000 of assessed value to $7.95 or $65 per year for a $200,000 home. The impact wouldn’t have taken effect until late November or early December this year. The projected mill rate would have increased to $8.15 in the 2022-23 school year, $8.36 in 2023-24 school year, $8.60 in 2024-25 and $8.85 in 2025-26.
The proposed operating referendum came three years after taxpayers approved a separate $33 million referendum in 2018 that built Wisconsin Dells’ new high school on Brew Farm Road. The last time Wisconsin Dells School District had an operating referendum was 2007.
District Administrator Terry Slack said in an email the district will begin to address the issue of the referendum failing in discussion at upcoming school board meetings.
“I will reserve further comment until this time but do wish to thank everyone who voted on this measure yesterday,” Slack said. “Despite the measure not passing, valuable voter feedback was gained and this will assist the board as we move forward with further planning for the 2021-22 school year.”
In the school board race, unofficial results show Robert McClyman received 1,485 votes to retain his position as the Area I representative, while Dr. Jennifer Gavinski received 1,442 votes for another term for the Area II representative position. Both candidates ran unopposed.
Editor’s note: This article was updated at 4:53 p.m. April 7 with comments from Wisconsin Dells School District District Administrator Terry Slack. Slack’s comments will not appear in the April 8 print edition of the Dells Events due to press deadlines.
Follow Erica Dynes on Twitter @EDynes_CapNews or contact her at 608-393-5346.