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Tuesday, August 8th, 2006 -- 8:25 AM

Neillsville school district residents turned out Monday night for an informational meeting on the referendum they?ll be voting on next month.

If passed on September 12th, Neillsville?s School Board will be able to exceed state-imposed revenue caps by $250,000 next year, $500,000 in 2008, and then $750,000 each subsequent year.

The around 50 residents in attendance listened as administrator John Gaier explained the district was facing a big drop in student enrollment that would lead to a big drop in state aid.

If not allowed to make up the budget deficit through increasing property taxes, Gaier said the district would likely be forced to either make program cuts or implement student fees on extracurriculars, such as Drivers Ed, Sports and computer use.

The public asked questions as well.

Some wanted to know why the $200,000 sports budget couldn?t be cut or if the summer school program could be scaled back. Gaier explained summer school is actually a revenue-maker for the district, and cutting sports could lead to more students leaving the district through open enrollment.

The district already plans to cut one of the six administrative positions for the next school year.

The last times voters had a referendum on the ballot was in 1996 and 1998.

Feel free to contact us with questions and/or comments.