Wisconsin Voters Approve Nearly $1.7 Billion of School District Referendums

Voters across Wisconsin passed nearly $1.7 billion of school district referendums in Tuesday’s election, according to data from the state Department of Public Instruction.

The 64 referendums that passed came from all across the state and ranged from $200,000 to $175 million — for a total of $1,699,156,999. Because there are multiple types of referendums school districts can bring to voters, some districts had more than one question on ballots, so all of that money is going to 49 districts throughout the state.

There are two types of referendums listed on the DPI database. A referendum to issue debt — also referred to as a capital referendum — allows a district to borrow money. Districts often use this for new construction, renovations and other building projects.

The other type allows districts to exceed their revenue limit, which is the maximum amount that may be raised through state general aid and property tax. It’s set by the state. These referendums are often referred to as operational referendums and can be recurring or nonrecurring.

Of the 64 referendums that passed, half were to exceed the revenue limit — 21 were nonrecurring and 11 were recurring. And although half of the approved referendums were to issue debt, they account for a majority of the money approved: $1.4 billion.