Spring election 2024: Bristol School referendum Q&A

Voters in the Bristol School District will be able to vote on a referendum in the spring election on April 2.

We sent a questionnaire regarding the referendum to district administrator Jack Musha. Here are his responses:

School District: Bristol School District #1

Person answering the questionnaire: Mr. Jack Musha, District Administrator

What is being sought with your district’s referendum?

The question being presented to voters is “Shall the School District Number 1, Village of Bristol, Kenosha County, Wisconsin be authorized to exceed the revenue limit specified in Section 121.91, Wisconsin Statutes, by $700,000 per year for the 2024-2025 school year and the 2025-2026 school year, for non-recurring purposes consisting of expenses to maintain operations, facility maintenance and to update curriculum and educational programming?”

Why is the referendum needed?

This ballot question seeks taxpayer permission to reallocate funds that were previously levied for prepayment of debt. Bristol School is asking permission to reallocate $700,000 per year for the next two years to address the following priorities:

  1. Staffing & Operations: Protect and maintain current staff and educational programming (includes electives)
  2. Curriculum: Strengthen our core academic curriculum
  3. Preemptive Facility Care: Proactively maintain and care for our newly renovated facility.

“Bristol School has an excellent foundation and no doubt is on an upward trajectory. Right-sized classes, staffing that allows for extra attention to kids that require such, low turnover amongst teachers and staff, individualized goal setting for students, and robust elective offerings all have contributed to test scores that are significantly above the state average. In my opinion, it is important to both the kids and community that we keep ‘stacking’ on these successes. Without additional dollars, it will be difficult to maintain all of the above and will be even more challenging to continue the climb.” – Stephen Grimm (Treasurer, Bristol Board of Education)

What is the projected property tax impact?

There will be no anticipated property tax impact. Bristol’s mill rate or school-related tax percentage will stay at 4.7. Bristol School is solely seeking approval to reallocate already collected resources and has no plans to introduce an additional tax levy. According to state regulations, Bristol School must obtain voters’ consent to transfer funds from one allocation to another. Therefore, the projected mill rate for Bristol School will remain at 4.70 for the 2024-2025 school year. Bristol School’s 4.70 school-related tax rate is at its lowest since 2014. During the 2012-2013 school year, the mill rate was at 7.62 and has steadily decreased and remained at 4.70 since the 2022-2023 school year.

“The long-standing excellence of our school brings value to all who call Bristol home by making it one of the most desirable places to live in our area. It was the leading reason for my husband and I to choose this community for our family. This referendum question seeks community permission to use the funds already collected in a way that sustains our current operations. It’s a win-win for our community as the tax impact is flat and allows our school to maintain that
excellence.” – Danielle Whitaker (Deputy Clerk/Treasurer, Bristol Board of Education)

What will passing the referendum allow the district to do?

Passing the referendum will allow the district to address the following immediate needs:

  1. Maintain and protect current staff & educational programming (includes electives and extracurricular activities)
  2. Strengthen our core academic curriculum: The math curriculum for grades 6-8 at Bristol School is outdated, having been in use for eight years, and is no longer supported by the publisher, leading to the discontinuation of online access and workbooks. Additionally, it no longer adequately meets the full scope of the state math standards as required.
  3. Proactively maintain & care for our newly renovated facility: Allow Bristol School to set aside funds for routine maintenance at a lower expense, rather than resorting to future costly borrowing. This approach ensures that the school can effectively manage upkeep for future generations without incurring additional costly financial burdens.

What will be the effect of the referendum not passing?

If Bristol School is unable to secure the taxpayers’ permission to reallocate funds, the district will
need to take measures to reduce expenditures which may include:

  1. Staffing and Operations: Reducing staff, educational programming, electives, and extracurricular activities
  2. Curriculum: Further delaying the purchase of much-needed up-to-date curriculum resources to meet the state academic standards
  3. Preemptive Facility Care: Postponing facility maintenance and safety measures on the new beautifully renovated building that our community so strongly supported, potentially requiring the district to borrow at an increased rate resulting in higher overall costs

Jack Musha, Bristol’s District Administrator, emphasizes the significance of this permission for
Bristol School:

“This is a pivotal moment where the support of our community can directly impact the future of
our children’s education. Without the necessary funds, maintaining our current operations becomes increasingly
challenging, putting at risk the quality of education we’ve worked tirelessly to uphold. Moreover, vital curriculum updates and preemptive facility maintenance needs that are essential for the continued success of our students, hang in the balance. We are asking for support to continue to provide the education our community deserves and,
right now, we can do this without increasing the burden on our taxpayers.”

How can people get more information or ask questions?

Additional information and videos informing the community about the district’s needs and financial status are available on the District’s Ballot Question 2024 web page at https://www.bristol.k12.wi.us/district/ballot-question-2024.cfm along with voting and polling resources for April 2, 2024.

Questions may be directed to the District Administrator, Mr. Jack Musha, at musha.jac@bristol.k12.wi.us.


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