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Loyal School District Asking Residents to Approve Referendum on April 4th

Wednesday, March 15th, 2023 -- 10:00 AM


On April 4th, the Loyal School District is, again, asking residents to vote on renewal of the District’s existing operational referendum, which expires this year.

The existing operational referendum is $675,000 per year. The new proposed referendum would authorize the District to exceed the revenue limit for five years in the following amounts:

  • 2023-24, $900,000;
  • 2024-25, $1,400,000;
  • 2025-26, $1,400,000;
  • 2026-27, $1,500,000;
  • And 2027-28, $1,500,000.

If voters approve the operational referendum, taxpayers would see the school portion of their property taxes increase $1.06 per $1,000 of property value per year, or $106 per year on a $100,000 home. Since 2014, the District has had an annual operational referendum to help meet operational costs.

Each year, the District balances the budget by cutting costs, implementing energy conservation, and through staff attrition. However, recent cost increases and declining enrollment have impacted the District’s ability to maintain operations at the current level of $675,000 per year.

The funds will be used for the District’s day to day operational expenses to maintain current educational programs and to maintain current staff. In addition, the plan accounts for a 3% wage increase for all staff in Year 1.

More than 16 years of revenue caps have limited our District’s ability to generate revenue to keep pace with rising costs and inflation. In fact, more than 80% of Wisconsin school districts have gone to referendum in the last 5 years. In our region, Granton, Greenwood, Owen-Withee, and Spencer school districts have operational referenda.

The District currently has no outstanding debt. In addition, the District has taken many steps to reduce costs including:

  • Reducing teaching and support staff through attrition;
  • Using ESSER funds (COVID relief) to complete building ventilation projects;
  • Increasing class sizes at the high school;
  • Installing energy efficient equipment;
  • And forming sports coops with neighboring districts to create efficiencies and offer more programs for students.

Shifts in enrollment and student revenue have also had an impact on our district. Over the past five years, overall membership declined from 542 in 2018 to 493 in 2022, which impacts the level of funding we receive from the state of Wisconsin.

In terms of mill rates, Loyal does have one of the lowest mill rates in the area at $6.08. Only Neillsville is lower with a mill rate of $5.07. Most Clark County schools have a lower mill rate than the state average of $7.68.

Thorp is at $6.23, $7.04 for Colby, $7.24 for Greenwood, $7.39 for Granton, and $7.60 for Owen-Withee. Only two Districts have higher mill rates than the state average. They are Spencer at $8.47 and Abbotsford at $8.68.

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