Tomah Area School District regrouping after referendum fails

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TOMAH, Wis. (WEAU) -- On election night the Tomah Area School District had thought its referendum had passed by 31 votes.

However, after canvassing Monday it was determined the referendum had failed by 25 votes.

“We’re disappointed, but you know we respect what the voters have told us,” said Superintendent Cindy Zahrte.

Superintendent Cindy Zahrte said the mix up happened, because two townships had given the district some inaccurate numbers.

“We think that it’s possible that they gave us the county referendum results rather than the school referendum results,” said Zahrte.

The referendum would have allowed the district to exceed the revenue limit by $300,000 for the 2014-2015 school year, $750,000 for the 2015-2016 school year and $1.5 million for the 2016-2017 school year.

The Tomah Area School District was trying to pass the referendum, because of a decrease in enrollment, state aide and federal aide.

Without a referendum, Zahrte said the district will have to look at $1.5 million worth of cuts over the next 3 years.

Three hundred thousand dollars of that will be cut for the 2014-2015 school year.

“We understand that we have a responsibility to our taxpayers, but we’re also balancing that with the need to ensure that we’re providing a quality education,” said Zahrte.

Zahrte said the cuts haven’t been finalized, but positions and extra-curriculars could be impacted.

The school board could be deciding on those cuts in the next month to six weeks.

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