Education Watch – What’s Next after Referendum Failure?

Apr 21, 2023 | Wisconsin Voices Blog

Quinton Klabon

From the Appleton Post-Crescent:

“This spring’s election saw the lowest passage rate for school district referendums statewide in over a decade. Wisconsin voters approved a little over half of the 83 referendums on ballots earlier this month.” Read more here and see the referenda here.

Quinton Klabon

Additional context from IRG Senior Research Director Quinton Klabon:

  • School referenda used to fail quite often, but ramped up in the 2010s. 55% is low considering recent history. However, this is still $647 million in approved funding increases.
  • Wisconsin is 1 of just 7 states nationwide that provides no direct support to districts to renovate schools, whether through direct funding, matching grants, or favorable loan terms. Competitive processes for frugal districts that consolidate schools as birth rates and enrollments decline could be a normal part of Wisconsin’s budget diet.