Voters in the School District of Rhinelander approved a $12 million referendum school officials have said is necessary to avoid drastic cuts to curriculum.
By an unofficial margin of 3,647- 2,543, voters Tuesday authorized the district to exceed revenue limits by $4 million per year for the next three years.
Tuesday’s vote marks the second straight successful referendum in the School District of Rhinelander.
District voters approved a construction/facilities upgrade referendum in February 2010.
In December, the school board announced another referendum would be necessary as the district is facing a shortfall of about $3 million for the 2013-14 school year, $4 million for 2014-15, and $5 million for 2015-16.
Passage of the referendum means the district will avoid having to make massive cuts to electives, staff, and co-curriculars.
School Board President Ron Counter said it “felt great” seeing the results come in Tuesday night. He thanked the community for putting its faith in the district and praised the numerous volunteers who put their hearts into securing a “yes” vote.
“This referendum was a complete community effort from the individual voters, to numerous people who volunteered hundreds of hours and resources working the phones, writing letters, and knocking on doors, to the teachers and the administrators in the school district, to the business and manufacturing members of Partners in Education, to WEAC’s (Wisconsin Education Association Council) personnel and resources, to our students’ efforts to ensure a positive outcome, and other, numerous groups and individuals who worked in support of their community,” Counter said. “Despite the increase in property taxes, Rhinelander should take pride in now passing the past two referendums to support the framework of a successful community.”
Although it now has a successful referendum under its belt, Counter said the board still has a lot of work to do, including continuing the search for Superintendent Dr. Roger Erdahl’s replacement.
Erdahl has announced he will retire at the end of June.
Other area referendums
Rhinelander wasn’t the only school district with a referendum on the ballot Tuesday.
Voters in Three Lakes authorized their district to exceed revenue limits by more than $2 million per year for the next five years.
The Northland Pines School District also approved two referendum questions.
First, voters authorized the district to exceed revenue limits on a non-recurring basis by $2,700,000 for the 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16 school years to maintain district programs and operations.
Second, voters authorized the district to exceed revenue limits on a non-recurring basis by $240,000 to construct additions to existing walls and to construct new walls for fire safety purposes.
Marcus Nesemann may be reached at email@example.com.