In a recent interview, School Superintendent Curt Bisarek told the Sentry-Enterprise how pleased and appreciative he is to the District voters for their show of support by approving the School Board’s second referendum, 458-336.
The district will get an extra $500,000 a year to go over revenue limits for four years.
The School Board played a major role in the success by answering the questions asked by voters at the special referendum forums that were held shortly before the election.
Board members did their homework on the many confusing issues in the referendum, with each of them becoming well versed on concerns of individual voters who needed a better understanding of the school’s budget problems.
Some of these questions were anticipated and discussed at Board meetings in order to present correct and understandable explanations to the financial problems that were eventually addressed in the second referendum.
“By holding those forums, the Board showed it was listening to people,” Bisarek stated.
He also pointed out that more than 800 voters participated in the second referendum, but it’s important to understand that financial issues still need to be worked out in a budget that remains somewhat tight.
Some citizens were concerned about the continuation of the Drivers Education program and fully staffed athletic coaching positions. Board members will still have to decide those kind of issues, and their thoughts must be cost effective, even with the second referendum being approved.
Other maintenance decisions facing the board include keeping an eye on the parking lot asphalt that needs improvement, although short-term sealing would bring down the cost.
Another major problem is the aging bleachers at the football field that have become somewhat of a safety concern.
“The track and major library renovations are non-issues right now,” Bisarek said, “and the possibility of a new girls softball field is also off the table.”
He went on to report that recent discussions with the Hillsboro Firemen went well and the continued use of the softball field at their park is still the best situation.
For the record:
• State equalization aid accounts for 51% of the Hillsboro School District's General Fund revenues, while local property taxes account for 26%. Open enrollment and Federal Grants are other sources. For comparison, in 2009-10 state aid made up 58% of General Fund revenues.
• Wisconsin has cut state investment in K-12 education by 15.3% since 2008.
• From 2009-10 to July 1, 2014, the Consumer Price Index increased 11.5%.
• From 2009-10 to 2013-14, the Hillsboro School District reduced health insurance expenditures by 8%, reduced Wisconsin Retirement System contributions by 50%, and reduced post-employment benefits by 59%.
• Utility costs for the district increased by 10.7% from 2009 to 2013-14.
And here’s the most surprising news of all: 48 of 57 school Districts in CESA 3 and 4 have gone to referendum for operations since the year 2,000, and 73% of these have passed.
This post has been corrected. The original article stated that the referendum was for five years.