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School referendums in Tomahawk, Elcho, Goodman pass; voters deny Merrill referendum


Several school districts across North Central Wisconsin asked voters to approve operational referendums.

More than 80 districts in Wisconsin had a referendum on the April 5 ballot, about half of them are for operational costs.

Districts in our area had mixed results.

Tomahawk School District

The Tomahawk School District asked voters to approve a $3.25 million non-recurring referendum that will last for the next three school years. On Tuesday, voters approved the referendum, with 56 percent saying yes.

This was the third time in less than three years the Tomahawk School District asked voters to approve an operational referendum.

In November 2020, it failed by 51 votes. In April of 2021, it failed by fewer than 35 votes.

Elcho School District

The Elcho School District is in a similar position to Tomahawk. It’s also tried and failed to pass two operational referendums in the last three years.

On Tuesday, however, 57 percent of voters assented to another referendum.

They approved $1 million per year for three-years non-recurring operational referendum.

Merrill Area Public Schools

Merrill, however, failed to pass its school referendum, mustering just 43 percent support.

From the 2018-19 school year to this school year 2021-22, the Merrill Area Public Schools District has been using voter-approved referendum funds to support teaching and learning for all MAPS students.

That referendum expires at the end of this school year.

The Board of Education asked for voter approval to continue the funding through a non-recurring operational referendum for $2,500,000 per year for four years with the purpose of:

  • Maintaining class sizes to acceptable levels; 
  • Continuing to offer regionally competitive salaries to attract and retain high-quality teachers and staff;
  • Sustaining current quality of programming for students;
  • Completing scheduled priority facilities maintenance, repairs, and replacements.

Goodman-Armstrong Creek School District

Goodman-Armstrong Creek School District asked voters to renew its operational referendum to avoid consolidation or dissolution. It passed easily, gaining approval at a 72 percent clip.

The referendum asked voters to approve an operational referendum of $750,000 per year for three years. This is not an increase, but a continuation of the amount currently being levied. 

Wausau School District

The Wausau School District asked voters to approve a facilities referendum. It passed with 60% of the votes.

The $119,800,000 referendum will pay for the cost of a school building and facility improvement project consisting of: districtwide safety and security, school updates, building infrastructure, capital maintenance and site improvements; remodeling at all middle and high schools; construction of additions at Horace Mann and John Muir Middle Schools, West and East High Schools and Grant, Riverview, South Mountain and Stettin Elementary Schools; construction of a new School Forest Environmental Learning Center; and acquisition of furnishings, fixtures and equipment.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
Ben worked as the Special Topics Correspondent at WXPR from September 2019 until November 2021. He then contributed with periodic stories until 2024. During his full-time employment, his main focus was reporting on environment and natural resources issues in northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula as part of The Stream, a weekly series.
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