Eau Claire Area School District finalizing referendum plan for November ballot

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 10:22 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -In Tuesday night’s partisan primary, voters finalized which candidates will be on the ballot in November. Some cities and area school districts are also in the last steps of approving referendum questions for that election.

One of those is the Eau Claire Area School District.

Its focus is on updating and adding to a handful of school buildings. That need in part coming from growing enrollment and aging facilities. Under consideration for this referendum include Putnam Heights Elementary, North High School, Memorial High School and South Middle School.

Voters last approved a referendum for the district in 2016. It’s also still paying off debt issued for capital projects in 2011. Both of those items impacting what you pay in taxes end in 2031.

District officials say projects like the ones it’s considering can’t wait another 10 years which means working to weigh the district’s needs with what community members can afford.

“It was kind of balancing what is that tax impact that the community would support,” said Abby Johnson, ECASD’s Executive Director of Business Services. “We know that based upon our survey, that 40 cents on $1,000 was what our community was comfortable supporting for the school district, and so then it’s trying to figure out how much money does that give us. What can fit into that box and is that what the board wants to move forward with?”

Johnson said this continual need to bring school district referendums to the voters is because state funding hasn’t kept up.

At its meeting Monday, school board members are expected to set the exact amount it’s going to ask for from voters.

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