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Failed referendum leads to budget cuts in Merrill schools

WAOW Television

After a school referendum was voted down at April 5th's elections, Merrill Area Public Schools made some cuts to their budget.

Multiple programs will be taking hits, with the district facing a budget cut between $2.5 and $3 million, with salaries and benefits, technology, and maintenance taking the brunt of the impact.

"I think you're gonna see delayed projects, you're gonna see some increased class sizes, we tried our best to not eliminate any programs." said John Sample, Superintendent of Schools.

That could mean leaky roofs might not be fixed, iPads and smart boards won't be bought, and the high school's Fab Lab won't get new machines.

The district saw declining enrollment over the years, and made some cuts in response, but decreasing department sizes will cause resources to dwindle.

"You know other things we want to offer whether it's support before or after school or during the day," said Eddie Then, Director of Business at the district.

While current cuts won't hit students, that could change.

"If we don't pass a referendum within the next year, then those cuts are going to be very detrimental and it will effect students," said Dr. Sample.

Staff said they're gearing up to submit the referendum again next year, and they're hopeful to avoid an even worse situation should it fail to pass.

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