Ballot Measures: Voters Approve $1.37 Billion in New School Spending

While much of the state focused on the remarkably close gubernatorial race Tuesday, voters also expressed resounding opinions on ballot measures regarding school referenda.

Voters overwhelmingly approved school referenda across the state, agreeing to raise taxes by well over $1.37 billion. In all, 82 separate referendum questions were up for debate in Wisconsin. Ultimately, 77 had passed and five failed.

Of the additional spending approved by voters, the vast majority will come in the form of new debt—$1.2 billion. Another $140.6 million will be one-time spending by school districts, and $26.1 million will be recurring spending above revenue limits.

The Wheeler Report was the first to report full results Wednesday morning. 

Of the five referendum votes that failed, the largest was in Viroqua Area, where voters turned down the question of a $24.9 million debt for a district-wide school building and improvement program. A West Salem referendum question for $7.6 million in one-time spending for educational programming failed, as did $2.25 million for Goodman-Armstrong. 

Voters in Wittenberg-Birnamwood also turned down a $4.4 million debt question for a new high school gymnasium. However, the same voters also agreed to issue $13.1 million in debt for a district-wide facility improvement plan.

In a night when multiple elections appeared to come down to slim margins, most of the school district referendum questions were handily approved.