Thursday, September 4th, 2008 -- 11:25 am
Posted by Riley Hebert-News Director
In just a few days, voters in the Neillsville school district will decide if they feel the district needs more money to operate.
A 5-year, $300,000 referendum will go to voters Tuesday. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
If approved, the district will be able to surpass the state-imposed revenue cap by $300,000 per year for five years.
Neillsville superintendent John Gaier explains that the first year, the $300,000 will be collected from local property taxpayers. Each subsequent year, the state will pick up a portion of the total.
"Our financial advisors predict that, after the first year, the state aid will be $125,000," Gaier says, "That means, in the second year, in order to gain $300,000 for the school, local property taxpayers would have to pick up $175,000."
It's harder to predict what that will mean to the tax rate.
It appears the combination of declining enrollment and increasing property values will lead to the mill rate going down, even if the referendum is passed, Gaier says.
Unlike other exemption-seeking districts, Neillsville's isn't at risk of dissolving. Gaier says the board wants to use the money to prevent the district from running "themselves into the ground."
"(If the referendum fails) we're not going to be able to invest now to provide future savings," Gaier says, "That's the problem some districts get into: they run themselves in the ground, literally, by the time they can get a referendum passed."
"By that time, the referendum has to be so large, you're just trying to catch up. We're not trying to catch up, we're trying to remain on top."
Again… Neillsville school district voters will be able to cast their ballot on Tuesday, the day of the Fall Primary.
A "yes" vote means the board will be able to exceed the revenue cap by $300,000 for five years; a "no" vote means the district will have to adhere to their revenue cap.
Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. We'll have complete coverage on Tuesday.