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Balancing education benefits with tax implication in Shiocton referendum

Shiocton referendum
Posted at 6:03 PM, Feb 05, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-05 19:03:57-05

SHIOCTON (NBC 26) — As Shiocton voters prepare to cast their ballots on February 20th, they face a decision on two school referendum questions: balancing potential benefits for students and the community with the associated tax implications.

  • Shiocton School District proposes two referendums: one for operational support and another for capital projects.
  • District administrator, Nicole Schweitzer, emphasizes the need for continued operational funding.
  • Local business owner Sarah Heineman acknowledges the tax impact but sees potential benefits, especially with the updates and additions to community-use spaces.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

A referendum designed to benefit students but coming at a cost to taxpayers. I'm Olivia Acree in Shiocton reporting on the choice facing voters.

The Shiocton School District is proposing two referendum questions to voters this February. One to address operational issues.

“The funds coming from the state simply have not kept up,” said Nicole Schweitzer, the district administrator.

This year marks the end of 2021 operational referendum.

“Coming back to the voters and asking for three more years of operational support,” said Schweitzer. “So that’s keeping the lights on, that’s curriculum, that’s instruction, it's the whole operation of the district.”

The other question addresses a capital campaign.

“What are the projects that are going to have the greatest impact on the students learning now and, in the future,” said Schweitzer.

They settled on five projects: A technical education wing, gymnasium, band and choir wing, childcare center wing, and offices with safe and secure entrances.

For local business owner, Sarah Heineman, the addition of a varsity gym would impact not only the district but the community as a whole.

“I think one of the big aspects is the gymnasium that they’re looking to add so that we’re able to house conferences larger things to bring other a little more exposure,” said Heineman, who owns Studio 54 in Shiocton.

Heineman said there’s a lot to look forward to in the referendum plans but also a lot of think to about.

“Yes, it is a drawback for tax purposes, but I think as we continue over the years things like that are needed to expand,” said Heineman.

Schweitzer forecasts taxes will go up $1.97 for every $1000 of property value next year. She wants voters to keep one thing in mind.

“The change for voters is the investment in our school district. The investment in the children,” said Schweitzer.

Both referendum questions will be on the February 20th ballot.