Referendum Frequently Asked Questions - Responses

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Referendum FAQs

  1. What is a referendum and when is the vote for it?
    1. A referendum, according to Webster dictionary, is an event in which the people of a county, state, etc., vote for or against a law that deals with a specific issue:a public vote on a particular issue.  The School District of Chilton is asking the community for $5.2 million over four years to exceed the State Revenue Limit.  (The total is broken into $1 million in 2016-17, $1.4 million in 2017-18, $1.4 million in 2018-19, and $1.4 million in 2019-20.)
    2. The vote is April 5, 2016.
  2. What are revenue limits?
    1. In the Fall of 1993 the Wisconsin legislature instituted a limit or control on the revenue a school district is entitled to receive each year.  The control applies to revenue received from two sources: general state aid and local levies.  The limits have significant impact on district finances.
  3. How does the State of Wisconsin determine Revenue Limits for school districts and how does this affect our local taxes?
    1. The revenue limits are determined predominantly through two factors: (a) student enrollment and (b) local land valuation.  Local levies increase when schools experience declining enrollment and/or a decrease in land valuation.  A stagnant enrollment can also result in a higher school levy.
  4. The amount being asked for in the referendum is based on projected expenses.  What if the actual costs are less than the amount budgeted?
    1. The Board of Education and Administration are committed to levying only for the amount of money that is needed each year.  If the money is not needed, it will not be collected.
  5. Many of the district additional needs are personnel that will cost $70,000 each (according to the PowerPoint presentation).  How was this number derived?
    1. The social worker, interventionists, and vocation arts positions would be paid as teachers.  Chilton School District salary for an initial educator is $37,004.  After 18 years and a Master’s Degree an educator can make up to $64,000.  This leaves an average salary of $50,000 for a new hire dependent upon experience.  Benefits, including Social Security, Medicare, and insurance, can cost $20,000.  Therefore, the $70,000 projected total compensation is based off the average salary and benefits of a professional educator.
  6. Where can more information about the overall budget be found?
    1. The annual budget for the last several years is located on the district website, .  Click the district tab and select business office.
    2. There is also a link to the budget within the strategic plan document located on the referendum page on the district website.
  7. What are the rules behind what the board can do as far as promoting the referendum?
    1. School Boards can only provide information to constituents (taxpayers).  School Boards are not allowed to encourage a yes or no vote.  A School Board can use district resources to provide information to taxpayers.
  8. What are you going to cut if you are asking us for money?
    1. Multiple budget program reductions will have to be analyzed and identified as part of the budget planning and preparation process (March – July) if the referendum is not successful.
    2. Some of the options to be considered include staff reductions, increasing class sizes, building and grounds maintenance reductions, and less technology resources.
  9. Are the amounts listed on the impact of taxes cumulative?
    1. No.  They are only additional to the current year amount (2015).  One could assume they are independent and that at the end of the year, the additional authority to exceed the levy limit goes back to its original amount.
  10. Please explain the role of the Fund Balance.
    1. Fund balance is a combination of cash and receivables and is mainly used to offset cash flow shortages.  The district’s main cash sources are local taxes (received in January, February and August) and state aid (received in September, December, March, and June).  This leaves five (5) months of the year in which the district does not have a major inflow of cash and relies upon fund balance to cover the continuing monthly expenses and payroll.  Fund balances are also maintained to prepare for the school district’s future needs, initiatives and emergency situations. 
  11. If the referendum is successful, how much will go to staff compensation?
    1. The State of Wisconsin currently limits the amount of compensation a school district can provide its staff to the annual “Consumer Price Index” (CPI) calculation that is published each spring.  A portion of the referendum is to add personnel such as a social worker, interventionists, and a vocational arts teacher.  Therefore, some of the referendum dollars is to compensate added professionals, but not to increase compensation of all employees.
  12.  If the referendum question is approved, could the District use the revenue for other things?
    1. No, under state law the District would be required to use the new revenue only for those purposes presented in the referendum questions.
  13. Why is one-to-one technology (also known as one-to-world) needed in school districts?
    1. The objective of the one-to-one technology initiative, initially launched in 2006, is to minimize the digital divide and to maximize student access to information.  The mission is to prepare students for the challenging and changing workplace of this century and to produce the following outcomes:
      1. Increased use of technology by teachers and students
      2. Improved student motivation, engagement, and learning performance
      3. Improved student-teacher interaction and parent-teacher communication
      4. Increased access to a wide range of digital content and technologies.
    2. Many of our surrounding districts have one-to-one technology including: Kiel, Plymouth, Brillion, Cedar Grove – Belgium, Manitowoc, Stockbridge, and New Holstein.
  14. What is the District’s current student enrollment and enrollment trend?

  1. What are the projected enrollments for Chilton School District?

  2. What are interventionists and how are these positions different from the support already available in our schools?
    1. An interventionist is a teacher with specialized training in a specific academic content area that helps students improve in their area of need.  Passage of the referendum would allow the addition of interventionists in math and reading at both the high school and middle school.
    2. Currently Chilton School District has supports in special education and for English Learners which is only available to students identified with special needs as defined by the Department of Public Instruction.
    3. Chilton School District currently employees three interventionists for reading and one interventionist for math at the elementary level.
  3. How is a social worker different than a school counselor?
    1. School social workers are an integral link between school, home, and community in helping students achieve academic success. They are responsible for helping students and families cope with problems facing their lives such as mental illness, depression, poverty, homelessness, and alcohol and drug abuse.  One aspect of this is teaching skills and developing mechanisms for individuals to rely on to better their lives and experiences.
    2. A school counselor is a counselor and an educator who works with students to provide academic, career, college readiness, and personal/social services through a school counseling program.  They teach lessons on various topics including career exploration, character education, communication skills, school safety, self-understanding, social skills, anger management, drug awareness, and learning styles.  Counselors also address issues with individuals or small groups on topics such as academic concerns, friendship/relationship issues, conflict management, decision making, self-esteem, and good choices.
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