Rural School Districts Will Look To Voters For Property Tax Hikes

Referenda Have Kept Some Districts Afloat Amid Funding Difficulties

Alexis Fam (CC-BY)

Some rural school districts in Wisconsin will turn to voters this spring to raise local property taxes to maintain their schools.

State Superintendent Tony Evers said 56 school districts are asking voters via referendum if they can exceed the state’s revenue cap and raise property taxes.

“Because funding has been relatively limited, people especially in rural Wisconsin are saying, ‘God, we’ve got to do something. We’ve got to support our schools,’” said Evers.

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South Shore School Superintendent, Principal and Director of Education Clendon Gustafson said his district of 140 students will turn to voters again this spring. He said the district would not currently exist if voters hadn’t passed a referendum five years ago.

“We would’ve exhausted our fund balance probably two years ago and we would not have been functional,” said Gustafson.

Evers said schools are trying to keep what they have in the face of state aid cuts and challenges with the state’s funding formula.