BENTON SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENDUMS
The Benton School district passed operation referendums to exceed the Wisconsin levy limits in 2006 and again in 2009. The referendums allowed the District to exceed the levy limits each of the past six years.
2006-07 School Year $125,000
2007-08 School Year $200,000
2008-09 School Year $250,000
2009-10 School Year $300,000
2010-11 School Year $325,000
2011-12 School Year $340,000
The results and benefits of the approved referendums were significant. A quality school and curriculum could be maintained. Benton’s student achievement test scores continued as the highest in the 31 school districts located in Southwest Wisconsin’s CESA #3. ACT test scores and graduating students advancing in post secondary education percentages excelled. The District’s Fund Balance increased to make it financially possible to remove the necessity of paying interest on short term borrowing. The District preserved a tradition of a great school for children.
Shortly after the successful referendum in 2009, the Benton School Board started work to reduce costs and still maintain a top quality education for our students. Technology was expanded and the curriculum enhanced. The Quad Schools (Benton, Cuba City, Shullsburg, and Southwestern) was formed to create a cooperative effort to improve student curriculum, share resources, and save money by working together. Research, studies, and efforts were made to increase the efficient use of staff and other resources. A new energy saving heating system was installed. Energy saving lighting has been expanded in the school. The BACPAK Program was started to not only provide an additional program to help children and parents, but also an opportunity to increase student enrollment and qualify for larger amounts of State Aid. District staff has been streamlined for economical effectiveness. The school lunch program has moved from the red into the black.
The Benton School Board and Administration have been examining the District’s future needs and revenues. Wisconsin Public Finance Professionals completed a future budgets projection overview. The District utilized a Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction financial revenue limit tool or template to project expenditures, revenues, levy limits, grant funding, student enrollment, and future tax levies for the 2011-12, 2012-13, and the 2013-14 school years. While the District has turned the corner on increased need to exceed the revenue limit, it has been established that there is still a need to exceed the limits the next three years in lesser amounts.
A Referendum Workshop Presentation was conducted by Financial Consultant Carol Wirth of Wisconsin Public Finance Professionals, LLC on January 4, 2012. State aid, revenue limits, annual tax levies, Benton’s tax levy history, and referendum options were examined. The past six years of exceeding the revenue limits and future annual revenue needs were projected.
In a Special School Board meeting held on January 16, 2001, the Board adopted a “Resolution Authoring the School District Budget to Exceed the Revenue Limit by $340,000 in the 2012-13 school year, by $330,000 in the 2013-14 school year and by $320,000 in the 2014-15 school year.
Community informational meetings have been schedule for Sunday the 26th of February at 3:00 pm, Wednesday the 21st of March at 7:00 pm and Sunday the 1st of April at 3:00 pm.
The referendum vote to exceed the revenue limits will be decided in the April 3, 2012 Spring Election.