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Referendum 2018 Information

The School District of Juda will be going for an operational referendum on November 6, 2018.  The operational referendum will be to exceed the revenue cap by an amount of $350,000.  There will be informational meetings on the following dates.  Please review the presentation link for more information.

September 12 (Wednesday) at 6:30 pm
October 1 (Monday) at 7:00 pm
October 21 (Sunday) at 3:00 pm (please note change in time from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm)
October 30 (Tuesday) at 7:00 pm

All informational sessions will be in the cafeteria at the Juda School District

School District of Juda
November 6, 2018 Referendum
Question and Answers

      Q.  Why is the District having a referendum at this time?

A.  Each year, the revenue limit law calculates how much “revenue” the District is allowed to pay its operating expenses (“Revenue Limit”).  The 2016 Referendum allows the District to increase revenues by $150,000 beginning with the 2016-17 budget year.  However, each year, the Revenue Limit continues to reduce the District’s revenue.  The revenues for the 2018-19 budget are projected to be approximately $55,000 less than before the 2016 Referendum.   The District must ask voters permission to restore this revenue to maintain programs. 


      Q.  What is a “Revenue Limit”?

      A.  The Revenue Limit is a State law (Wisconsin Statute 121.91) that was imposed on all Wisconsin school districts 25 years ago.  It                     limits the amount of revenue a school district receives to pay operating expenses.  The limit is calculated each year using current,               resident student enrollment figures and applying State legislative changes.


      Q.  Is the 2018 referendum the same as the District’s 2016 referendums?

      A.  Two referendums were approved in 2016:

1.      $5.7 million building / remodeling referendum funded improvements to the school building (floors, lights, HVAC, repurposing the old gym, locker rooms, roofs, etc. technology – computers, Smartboards, televisions, etc., safety upgrades and curriculum.)  The building referendum dollars could not be used to pay operating costs. 


2.     The $150,000 operating referendum allowed the District to include $150,000 in the base of the Revenue Limit and remain in the base ongoing to pay the District’s operating expenses.  The 2018 referendum is asking to include $350,000 in the base of the Revenue Limit, ongoing, to pay operating expenses - the same kind of operating referendum as the 2016 operating referendum

Q.  What happened with the money from the 2016 operating referendum?

A.  The $150,000 approved by the 2016 operating referendum was included in the base of the Revenue Limit calculation beginning with the 2016-17 budget year.  The tax impact for the 2016 operating referendum projected a tax increase of $1.44 per $1,000.  The final Revenue Limit calculation, including the results of the 2016 Referendum, only allowed the District $53,213 of additional revenue in 2016-17 which also limited the tax increase to $0.28 per $1,000.  The final Revenue Limit calculation for 2017-18 only allowed the District $6,648 of additional revenue, and the tax rate has remained stable.  The Revenue Limit for 2018-19 is projecting another decline in revenue to a level that Is $55,000 lower than before the 2016 operating referendum.   The District is asking voters to restore this reduction in revenue with the 2018 operating Referendum.

      Q.  What will the 2018 Referendum do for the District?

A.   The 2018 Referendum will help restore $205,000 of operating revenue that the Revenue Limit prevents the District from receiving to maintain current programs and services, retain quality teachers, maintain appropriate class sizes, and maintain extracurricular activities at all levels. The 2018 Referendum will help restore revenue to the level projected for the 2016 Referendum and to address rising costs associated with utilities, salaries, insurance, transportation, curriculum improvements, technology, professional development and staffing needs, and to improve fund balance.


Q.   Why can’t the District use fund balance instead of going to referendum?

A.   Fund balance is not like a “savings account” whereby money stays in an account and only used if a withdrawal is made to pay a bill.  Fund balance is a working account that is used daily to pay the District’s operating expenses when other revenues, like property taxes, state and federal aid, have not been received. It behaves like a school district’s internal line of credit.   If a school district does not have enough fund balance to cover its operating expenses, the district will need to do short-term borrowing to pay its expenses.  Short-term borrowing is repaid, with interest, when the district does receive its revenue.  In addition, if the District did use fund balance instead of going to referendum, besides having the additional costs associated with cash flow borrowing, the entire fund balance would be depleted by the second year, jeopardizing the future of the District’s existence. The District’s estimated fund balance at June 30, 2018 is $385,000. 


Q.   What happens if the 2018 referendum does not pass?

A.    For the 2018-19 school year - Costs would be reduced as much as possible; staffing and programs will be in place.  Fund balance will be used to offset operating deficits.  The tax levy will decrease compared to last year’s tax levy.


For the 2019-20 school year - The School Board could hold an operating referendum in April of 2019. Other options available to the District would include reducing expenses through significant budget cuts (including staff and program reductions), depleting fund balance, or both.  Since the District does not have multiple teachers at each level, program reductions would be considered, as well as a freeze on salaries and hiring.


      Q.  What has been happening in the District so far?

      A.  The District shares staff, resources and product costs with other districts to keep costs down.  The District

has not rehired certain positions when they are vacated; staff continues to wear many hats to cover needs for staffing and students. 


       Q.  Where can I get more information about the 2018 referendum?

       A.  Three public information meetings will be held in the Juda School District Cafeteria at the following times:

            October 1 (Monday) @ 7 p.m.          October 21 (Sunday) @ 3 P.M.          October 30 (Tuesday) @ 7 P.M.

        Watch the District’s website and Facebook page.  Contact Traci Davis, District Administrator 608-934-5251

        Email: davis@judaschool.com

Q.   If the Juda School District receives more state aid, does that mean the District has more revenue?

A.   No.  The Revenue Limit controls how much revenue a school district is allowed.  State aid is determined each year under a State formula that includes the district’s expenses (operating and debt), enrollment and property valuation.  The State notifies the School District of how much of the revenue is coming from the State and the remainder comes from local property taxes.  State aid is used for property tax relief and not as additional revenue for a school district.  If a district receives less aid, taxes go up.  If a district receives more aid, taxes go down. Neither scenario gives the district more revenue.


Q.  Are other school district’s going to referendum for operating revenue?

      A.   Across the State, there are 36 other school districts holding November 2018 referendums for operational

purposes including several surrounding districts such as Brodhead, Evansville, Monroe, and New Glarus. 

Many school districts have also had multiple operating referendums.


Q.   What happens to my tax bill if Juda School District consolidates with another school district?

A.   The process of consolidation is a very long process.  It requires two school districts to pass referendums approving the consolidation.  If that occurs, a new school board is established to make the decisions about the new consolidated district, including curriculum, staffing, facilities, debt, and the amount of revenue needed to pay the expenses of the new school district, which is the “tax levy.”  The tax levy includes both operating and debt service expenses and is spread on the tax base of all property in the school district.  An extensive study of all the matters involved with consolidation would have to be done to determine what the financial impact could be to the taxpayers of both districts.


Q.   If the Juda School District would dissolve, does that mean I don’t have to pay school taxes?

A.   No.  If the Juda School Board takes action to dissolve the District, decisions are made by a special State board regarding what school district students will attend, and, what school district property owners will be a part of.  Tax bills will always include taxes paid to a school district.


Q.   How will my tax bill be impacted by the 2018 referendum?

A.   The tax impact will apply to the December 2018 tax bill – Compared to last year’s tax rate:

-        With the 2018 referendum the estimated impact is tax rate increase of $1.50 Per $1,000 of Equalized Property Value


-        Without the 2018 referendum the estimated impact is a tax rate decrease of $1.54 Per $1,000 of Equalized Property Value




             VOTE – NOVEMBER 6, 2018


The District would welcome an invitation from any group or organization to come and speak

 to them about the 2018 Referendum.  Please contact Traci Davis, District Administrator