I’m writing today to express my support for the Referendum for the Sturgeon Bay School District. You may be asking, as I did, why do we need to go to referendum to meet the budgetary needs of the school district? The answer is in the history of the Wisconsin state legislature. In 1993 the Wisconsin legislature imposed revenue limits on school districts for a five year period. It was never intended, back then, to be a permanent situation. However, in 1997, Act 27 was passed, which made these revenue limits permanent.
The state formula for funding public education is such that it assumes communities with high land value can afford to pay more to fund its own school districts. Part of the problem in Sturgeon Bay is that we have high land value at the same time as a decrease in student enrollment. This creates a problem in that we receive less state funding and still need to meet the demand to provide a quality education for the students in our community. For schools that have higher enrollment and lower land value, those districts receive a bigger piece of the school funding pie. That leaves smaller districts, like ours, in need of asking for a referendum.
When I look at the facts, I can clearly see that the Sturgeon Bay School Board has responsibly balanced the requirement to provide a quality education to our students, while at the same time, representing our taxpayers fairly. This is evident in the fact that over the last three years, our school board did not tax the property owners to its full authority. They have made tough and wise choices in cost reduction, which resulted in a direct savings to the taxpayer.
Quality public education should be a priority of everyone, middle class homeowner, business owner, and retirees alike. It is my personal belief that strong public schools create strong communities. As these kids graduate, they will enter our workforce. You will be hiring them in your businesses and they will be providing services and products for you as a consumer. When you are face to face with these graduates, and they are your employees or your provider of products or services, you will want quality. Let’s ensure that we have it. Vote YES on April 2nd!