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On the Ballot: School Referendums

Photo by Katie Thoresen

Voters in three school districts are being asked to approve operational referendums in the upcoming election.

School District of Rhinelander

The School District of Rhinelander is asking voters to renew its referendum that is set to expire at the end of this school year.

It’s $4 million per year starting with the 2023-2024 school year and going through the school year ending in 2027.

The district says this represents a reduction of $1 million from the previous referendum amount.

There would be very little or a slight decrease in property tax if it’s approved by voters.

You can learn more about SDR’s referendum on the district website.

Three Lakes School District

In the Three Lakes School District, voters are being asked to approve a non-recurring operational referendum for $4.25 million a year for the next four years.

Three Lakes also does anticipate any major changes to property taxes if it’s approved. If anything, the mill rate would be lower.

You can learn more on the district website.

Merrill Area Public Schools

The Merrill Area Public School District is trying for a second time to get voters to approve its referendum.

The first one failed to pass in April.

The district’s old referendum expired at the end of the last school year.

It’s once again asking voters to approve an operational referendum of $2.5 million a year for the next four years.

This referendum won’t cost taxpayers more than the last one.

But because of lapse in the old referendum before the new one was approved, taxpayers in the district will see a decrease this year, and then an increase next year if this referendum passes.

It’s estimated to be $167 per $100,000 of a home.

You can learn more about MAPS referendum on the district website.

Local districts have had mixed results with operational referendums in recent years.

While many have theirs pass on the first try, it took Elcho and Tomahawk going to the ballot three times before their referendums were approved by voters.

Operational referendums are meant to cover districts basics costs.

Districts in the Northwoods depend on voter-supported operational referendums to make up for a lack of state funding.

The referendum questions will appear on the November 8th ballot.

Unsure if you live within one of these districts?Visit the My Vote Wisconsin website to view what will be on your ballot.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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