The New Berlin School District will ask for $25 Million on the April 2 ballot. The operational referendum would give the schools five million dollars a year for the next five years.
According to the district, the bulk of the the referendum funds would go toward a operating budget debt of $16.5 million dollars. Most of that debit is from building Ronald Reagan Middle School without a referendum.
The remaining funds would go to things like building improvements, fair wages for staff and safety upgrades.
Many are concerned about the tax implications of the referendum. For a house that’s $250,000, the tax increase the first year would be about $97.50 and then about another $30 in the 2020-21 school year.
Mya Keller says the referendum is worth it.
“We have great kids that have done well in this district we want to keep it up,” Keller said.
Resident Nik Clark with the Tax Payers Alliance says that’s not right.
Clark says the real issue is low enrollment and if the enrollment numbers were up then the schools would get more state funding.
“It’s a bigger situation here. We’re giving the district millions of dollars to service hundreds and hundreds less students. That’s the path of fiscal insolvency,” Clark said.
Clark questions what happens once the school begins operating with the extra money and enrollment continues to drop.
Keller worries what will happen if the referendum fails.
“We will have larger class sizes and will defer technology and safety concerns,” Keller said.
“The academic futures of those kids will not be affected if some of the million dollars of capital projects are put off till 2025 when some of the debt retires from Ronald Reagan Elementary School,” Clark said.
If the referendum passes, it would be the first referendum for the district since November 2000.