Wheatland Center School Board authorizes April 1 referendum

wheatland-school-busVoters in the Wheatland Center School district will find a referendum to allow the district to exceed its revenue limit on the April 1 ballot.

The School Board authorized the referendum at its meeting Jan. 15.

From a statement released by the distict Thursday:

The Wheatland J1 School District will seek a referendum on Tuesday, April 1st, 2014, in order to keep existing programs and build a recommended fund balance. District residents will have the opportunity to vote on a non-recurring referendum to exceed the revenue limit. The ballot question requests permission to increase the revenue limit by an amount not-to-exceed $750,000 for four years, starting in 2014-15. The projected impact of the referendum on a $100,000 home would be $28 in the first year and a total of $71 over the four year period. This equates to 34 cents a week. Despite receiving $650,000 less in equalized aid since 2010, Wheatland has continued to enhance programs and increase achievement. On this year’s state report card Wheatland grew 11.7 points to reach the Exceed Expectations Category. The one to one computing and personalized learning environment highlight a nationally recognized project based Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math curriculum for all students. There are also additional opportunities for foreign language instruction, increased after school programming, computerized enrichment, and expanded summer school. These enhancements in quality programs have increased open enrollment students into the district and decreased open enrollment students out of the district, resulting in a net gain in revenue and positive overall growth. The Wheatland J1 School District is not alone in the need to increase state imposed revenue limits as there have been over 900 similar referendums statewide. Wheatland has faced a significant revenue decrease since 2010, and has kept the overall tax levy nearly flat over the last five years. In addition, Wheatland has reduced yearly insurance costs by over $350,000 and has saved $180,000 each year by requiring staff to pay 50% of retirement costs. Since 2010, Wheatland has also reduced certified staff by 4.5 FTE’s, trimmed building budgets, reduced bus routes, and has frozen total compensation for 2013-14. Even with these expense reductions a referendum is essential to keep existing programs, staff classes appropriately, and build a recommended fund balance to provide a quality education for Wheatland students. To provide residents with the facts needed to make an informed decision at the polls, the district offers the following ways to learn more about the proposed plan: • Visit the district website at www.wheatland.k12.wi.us • Email the district with your questions to referendum@wcspk8.org • Call District Administrator Martin McGinley directly at 262-537-2216, ext. 3920 • Attend an informal, open house style Referendum Information Night to learn more about the proposed plan. Each event will run from 7:00 – 8:30 PM and building tours will be provided for interested residents. o March 5th, 7:00 pm at Wheatland Center School (Community Room) o March 18th, 7:00 pm at Wheatland Center School (Community Room) • Visit our school for a first-hand look at our facilities and programs. Building tours by appointment. Please call ahead 262-537-2216

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