Western Wisconsin school referenda largely pass in Spring Election

18 of 22 school referenda items were approved by western Wisconsin voters Tuesday night.
18 of 22 school referenda questions were approved by western Wisconsin voters Tuesday night.
18 of 22 school referenda questions were approved by western Wisconsin voters Tuesday night.(WSAW)
Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 9:07 AM CDT
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LADYSMITH, Wis. (WEAU) - School referenda on the ballot for districts across western Wisconsin largely passed after the results were counted from Tuesday night’s Spring General Election.

81 school referenda questions were on Wisconsin ballots Tuesday, with about a quarter of them posed to voters in the western third of the state.

In Ladysmith, both referenda questions passed, granting the district $21 million for updates to its buildings as well as $600,000 per year for five years for a total of $3 million to cover operational expenses. The refrenda items passed with 60% and 59% of the vote respectively, according to the Rusk County Clerk’s Office.

Neighboring district Lake Holcombe saw its $2,625,000 referendum easily pass with 66% of the vote. That money will go towards operations and maintenance over the next three years. A similar referendum for Gilman totaling $3.3 million over four years narrowly passed with 52% of the voters saying “yes.”

One of the state’s largest referenda was Amery, which had two questions for its district voters. The first seeking $35 million for improvements and renovations passed with 56% of the vote, while a second question seeking an additional $8.5 million for upgrades to its elementary and early childhood buildings also passed with 59% of the vote. Another district asking two questions on the ballot was St. Croix Central, which passed both measures, including a $30 million referendum for improvements and a $4.725 million referendum for operations over 10 years.

Other referenda receiving approval from voters include:

  • $800,000 for Clear Lake for operations;
  • $5.2 million for Ellsworth over five years for maintenance and programming;
  • $10.2 million for Royall for renovations and construction of a new gym;
  • $49.7 million for Hayward, which overwhelmingly passed;
  • Nearly $11 million for Necedah, which asked two questions;
  • $1.2 million over three years for New Auburn for operations;
  • $4 million over four years for New Lisbon for operations;
  • $3.3 million over three years for Plum City for operations;
  • $15 million for Prescott for improvements;
  • $5.5 million for Turtle Lake for operations; and
  • $7.75 million for West Salem for programming, facilities and operations.

Not all referenda were passed by voters however. Measures failed for Clayton, Independence, Loyal and Sparta. Sparta was seeking $4.2 million over the next two years to fund staffing and maintenance.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction indicated on its website that the majority of the state’s 81 school referenda questions had passed. Last spring, 42 of 70 school referenda items passed statewide. This year, at least 64 of the 81 referenda statewide passed, according to the DPI.

More school referenda items are already appearing on the ballot for the 2022 Fall General Election. Two districts have already been approved in the state for questions on this fall’s ballots.

For election results from western Wisconsin, you can visit the elections results page here. You can learn more about elections in Wisconsin by visiting the Wisconsin Election Commission website. If you are looking for sample ballots, voter registration information, or are wondering where to vote, you can visit the MyVote Wisconsin website.

correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly indicated Prescott received an additional $3.3 million in a referendum, but the school district passing that referendum was Plum City. Prescott's $15 million referendum, which is correctly noted, passed.

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