What is the Referendum for?
Continuous Improvement: The Viroqua School District recognizes our obligation to provide the best educational experience for all of our students. To do this, we need to remain current and adapt to the needs of our students. The previous operational referendums passed by the voters of this community have allowed us to maintain and improve our facilities without impacting the educational and curricular activities to the extent we would have, should the referendums not have been approved. The proposed referendum will allow us to continue offering quality programs and services, while providing for the operation and maintenance of our facilities.
Each year the State of Wisconsin determines how much money the local school districts can generate through a combination of State Aid and Local Property Taxes. This limit, commonly referred to as Revenue Limits, ultimately determines how much districts can spend on an annual basis. Following the major adjustments of ACT 10 in the 2011-2012 budget year, the Viroqua School District has had annual increases in our revenue limits of less than 1%. As of February 16, 2015, the Revenue Limits are expected to remain at their current levels for the next two years. These small increases allowed by the State will not keep up with inflation of regular day-to-day operating expenses such as utilities, supplies, and student transportation. The increases in operating expenses at rates higher than allowed revenue increases creates a “structural deficit” and will result in decreases in other areas of our budget.
2010 Referendum Sunset:
The referendum that was passed by the voters in April of 2010 for operational expenses was for five years. The additional revenues provided by this referendum will expire in June, 2015 and must be renewed by another referendum to be available to the District.
Public Informational Meetings
Tuesday, March 17, 5:30 pm - HS/MS Library
Friday, March 20, 10:00 am - Elementary Library
What will this Referendum cost me as a Taxpayer?
The passage of the referendum will still result in a decrease in the overall taxes paid by local property owners. That’s right, a decrease. How is this possible?
Your tax bill includes school levies which consist of The General Fund Levy and the Debt Service Levy. Although these areas are combined into one line on the tax bill, they are calculated and regulated very differently by the School District. The General Fund Levy is limited by the Revenue Limits set by the state of Wisconsin. The Debt Service Levy is not subject to the limitations of the Revenue Limits as this debt was approved by its own Referendum when the bonds were issued.
The District has retired the bonds issued to construct our Elementary School back in 1995, resulting in a decrease in the debt service mill rate of $0.76 per $1,000 of equalized value. This decrease, even when offset with the increase in general fund mill rate of $0.24 upon passage of the referendum, will result in an overall decrease in the total mill rate of $0.52 per $1,000 of equalized value. Please see the table below estimating the tax impact following the passage of the referendum on homes in our district.
| $100,000|| $1,035|| $983|| $52|
| $175,000|| $1,811|| $1,720|| $91|
| $250,000|| $2,588|| $2,458|| $130|
Why is it necessary to ask for a
Revenue Cap Exemption of $350,000?
The District believes strongly in its responsibility to our students and our community to maintain and keep in repair the beautiful facilities it has been provided.
Educating the youth of this fine community is the District’s business. Viroqua has a long tradition of providing quality teachers and strong educational opportunities for Viroqua students. The District’s goal is to continue this long tradition. A strong educational program benefits everyone in our community. The young people we serve will be the leaders, the decision makers and the taxpayers of the future. How well they are prepared to take on these roles will directly impact the lives of each and every one of us.
Based on budget planning/projections and the District’s past budget experience, the district will have to continue to reduce its yearly budget even if this referendum is successful.
The Board of Education did not put this referendum on the ballot without pause. The Board, along with the District administration, recognize the financial commitment this represents to our taxpayers. The District would not be asking for support of this referendum if it felt it had another option. Without passage, the district will be forced to reduce the budget by an additional $350,000.00, the projection for the 2015-16 school year then would reflect reductions in the range of $400,000 to $500,000 per year.
The Board of Education is very sensitive to desires of our community to keep our tax rate as low as possible and have demonstrated their willingness not to levy the maximum amount allowed if it would result in an unacceptable tax levy increase.
The passage of this referendum would provide us needed funding for maintenance, replacement, and repairs, thus allowing some flexibility for support of educational programming and student opportunities.