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$400,000 recurring referendum for Shullsburg Schools

POSTED November 15, 2017 2:43 p.m.

SHULLSBURG – The Shullsburg School Board of Education accepted a motion to have a recurring referendum to exceed the revenue limit by $400,000 annually. The actual resolution and language will be adopted in December.
District Administrator Loras Kruser spoke to the board about finalizing the decision to go to referendum. With the schools declining enrollment and expenditures and revenue decreasing, the district is not able to sustain itself under the current financials.
He mentioned that the district has $391,738 in debt dropping off from when the school replaced the roof. In the 2018-2019 school year, the district will be debt free.
The board was in agreement that if the district asked for $400,000, the mil rate would essentially stay the same as it is now. The referendum would be used to exceed the revenue limit and the money would be used for operational costs with the option to use it for deferred maintenance projects, technology or the curriculum.
The board looked at the possibility of having it as a non-recurring referendum but felt that they would have to keep coming back to the community and asking for the money.
Amy Charles said that, “the reason we are doing this is because of operations, primarily. We have a list of projects but none that are in a desperate need at this point in time. We have to go for it and go for recurring and roll the dice and hope that people understand that if they don’t do this we will be in trouble, very, very quickly.”
Eugene Uehling was in agreement but added that as soon as they were to accept this referendum, they would need to start an education process to help explain the referendum to voters.
“None of the math and finances are easy to understand and we need to make it as simple as possible. It is primarily operational but there is that deferred maintenance. If something were to come up, we would be able to put money toward that because we have defined that as a possible expense item,” Uehling said.
“I don’t want people to misunderstand that if they give us this amount of money for this amount of time, that all the problems go away. This isn’t like buying a roof and you pay for it once and its gone. The problem is a structural deficit and the way that we are funded. It will not go away. We cannot stop asking for this money because we are always going to need it. My concern is if we make it seem like one time monies, it’s really not,” she stated.
Jacinda Gunnell added that the school district is at the point now where, “there is no more room to cut expenses.”
Dan Morrissey made the motion to have a recurring referendum to exceed the revenue limit by $400,000 annually with Gunnell seconding.

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