MADISON, Wis. – Voters in seven school districts across Wisconsin will decide on referendums Tuesday.

What You Need To Know

  • Seven school districts have referendums up for a vote Tuesday 

  • The largest of them is about $92 million in Waukesha & Racine counties 

  • Most Wisconsin school districts have had to get funding through referendums since 1993 

In 1993, state lawmakers adopted revenue limits for school districts. Since then, approximately 85% of Wisconsin’s school districts have used referendums to raise funding.

The largest school district referendum on the ballot for the Feb. 20 election is in the Waterford Union School District, in Racine and Waukesha counties. There will be two questions posed to voters totaling nearly $92 million.

The bigger portion is $77.8 million. District officials said the main priorities are maintenance and upgrades. They said the high school has failing mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems. They added these upgrades would lower the district’s operating costs. They’d also use the money to improve the career center, fire safety, security and other areas.

The smaller of the two proposals would cost $14.1 million. It would pay for upgrades to the stadium, soccer fields, and pay for new softball fields. It would also add restrooms.

In Outagamie County, voters will decide a $36 million referendum. It would pay for new technical education, gym, band & choir and child care wings at Schiocton High School. There would be other renovations throughout the district.

The district is also asking to increase funding by $2-3 million each of the next three school years. Throughout Wisconsin, more districts are using referendums to pay for everyday operating costs. Schiocton has used this strategy before, their previous 3-year referendum expires at the end of the 2023-24 school year.

In Barron County, voters will decide on a $33 million referendum for the Cumberland School District. Their main project would be the middle/high school campus.

District officials said the heating and ventilation systems are 65 years old and failing. They said when they try to repair them, the parts they need often aren’t even made anymore.

They’d also improve air quality, replace the boiler, fix the electrical systems, and remove asbestos. Plus, they’d tear down a two-story part of the building and rebuild it.

There are also school referendums on the ballot in River Falls, Wilmot, Menomonie and Burlington.