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Cuba City School District to run survey
Gauging referendum thoughts
Cuba City

Cuba City School District is planning to send out a community survey to residents soon to request input on a potential November operating referendum request.

CCSD’s school board voted 6–1 during a meeting April 17 to work with the education research firm School Perceptions to gauge residents’ perspectives on CCSD potentially requesting an operating referendum in the fall.

CCSD had finalized the survey and sent it off to the printer last week. They are hoping to have it distributed to the community within the next few weeks, said Superintendent Aaron Olson Friday.

CCSD worked with School Perceptions in 2022 to survey the public prior to running a $26.85 million referendum. The process provided the district with a better idea of the community’s perspective on a potential referendum.

CCSD did not run a survey with School Perceptions this spring when they requested to exceed the revenue for the next four years through an operating referendum April 2.

Their operating referendum request did not pass this spring, leading to a need to reduce staff, services and programming to balance next year’s budget, noted Olson.

The school board discussed during an April 17 meeting that they anticipate getting a better idea of the community’s thoughts regarding a potential operating referendum through running the study. 

Working with a company like School Perceptions to run such a survey tends to yield more accurate results than volunteer-coordinated surveys, said CCSD leaders during a recent school board conversation.

With the upcoming survey, CCSD will highlight potential referendum requests for November 2024 and what the different levels of funding could mean for CCSD in terms of being able to potentially bring back staff positions, services and programs that they are removing in 2024-25 due funding limitations, said Olson.

They will need to finalize language for an operating referendum question to voters by their August meeting if they are going to move forward with a request on the fall ballot, he added.

The school board approved a contract with School Perceptions to run the survey during an April meeting. CCSD will pay the company around $9,800 to help them run the survey. That is about the same price they paid to work with them in 2022, said Olson.

A hope is that the survey will help the district determine whether and how to run a successful referendum this fall, if that is the route they opt to proceed with, said Olson.

CCSD leadership recently decided on budgetary cuts that add up to just under $1 million for 2024-25. While those changes may get them through balancing the budget for the next couple of years, Olson said CCSD doesn’t anticipate them getting CCSD through a third year.

“Cuba City is not unique with this,” said Olson, commenting on the amount of state funding that is currently going to public school districts. “We have more needs, but we are receiving fewer resources when compared to inflation … The only recourse we have for that is to go to the taxpayers and ask to exceed the revenue limit … That’s why we’re doing this.”

The decision to approve the contract with School Perceptions for the community survey passed 6–1 last month, with school board member Chuck Poll voting in opposition to it.

When the survey goes out, CCSD is asking that if any district residents don't receive it, they call the school to get copies, said Olson.
The community will likely have about three to four weeks to fill out their surveys once they receive them, said Olson. 

Though they don’t have a firm deadline at this time, when the timeline is solidified, CCSD will provide that information to the public, he added.