01STOCK_MILTONSCHOOLS02

MILTON

The Milton School Board wants to continue a $2.5 million operational referendum each year for five more years, starting with the 2021-22 school year.

At its Aug. 10 meeting, the board will discuss putting such a referendum on the Nov. 3 ballot.

School district Superintendent Rich Dahman said the referendum, if approved by voters, would support a “continuation of what we have in place.”

More than 52% of voters approved the current $2.5 million operational referendum in November 2016, but it will end with the 2020-21 school year. The referendum allowed the district to exceed its revenue limit by $2.5 million per year for five years for “ongoing educational programming, staff and maintenance expenses.”

The draft referendum included with Monday’s school board agenda was for the same.

Carey Bradley, district director of business services, said the referendum could be placed on the April 2021 ballot if the school board approves it for the Nov. 3 ballot but it doesn’t pass.

“You get two ballot questions per calendar year,” she said.

Rock County Clerk Lisa Tollefson said Aug. 26 is the deadline to file a copy of the referendum question for the November ballot with the county clerk.

Bradley said before going to referendum, the board needs to understand the consequences.

“What we need to understand is there’s language in the law that says if a referendum for operations (not debt service) fails, then for the three school years following, if a district were to be eligible for that low revenue increment, they would not be eligible unless they successfully pass a referendum,” she said.

If the referendum fails in November and April, Bradley said, “You do not get your low revenue increment for the next three years.”

For 2020-21 that increment is $105 per student, she said.

Board member Diamond McKenna said the district would be frozen until a referendum is passed.

Heading into a state budget cycle, Bradley said, “We don’t know what the low revenue increment would be the following year.”

She said it’s possible there might not be a low revenue increment.

Editor's note: The headline for this story has been changed to remove the word "recurring" because the proposed referendum will end after five years, not go on indefinitely.

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