Rhinelander School District voters approve referendum
STAR JOURNAL REPORT
School District of Rhinelander taxpayers Tuesday authorized the district to exceed the revenue cap by $4.25 million each of the next four years, beginning with the 2019-20 school year, according to unofficial results. The votes as of today were 5,582 in favor to 4,226 opposed.
SDR Superintendent Kelli Jacobi said she is thrilled with the results.
“I want to thank our community for their continued financial support,” Jacobi said Wednesday morning.”We will continue our efforts in Madison to bring the school funding formula disparity into the public eye and working towards change for a fairer way to fund schools.”
If the results hold, this will be the fourth referendum since 2010 approved by voters for “non-recurring purposes. The five previous referenda votes, the first in June 2004, failed to get enough support to pass. The result was more than $11.5 million in cuts made in the district between the 2002-03 and 2012-13 school years.
This time around, the district was able to ask for less than the last referendum cycle’s $5 million per year, by passing along savings from health insurance and additional per-student funding from the state to tax payers. Those factors that also helped increase the fund balance.
“Two things happened,” Kwiatkowski said at a school board meeting in July. “You have the $492,000…from the energy exemption…that we didn’t know years ago that was going to happen, and also health insurance. Health insurance is over $5 million and the average increase is 9 to 12 percent and we’re seeing zero or negative and those cost savings go into the fund balance.”
Final results will be available after canvassing takes place Nov. 13.