By: Brian Sikma
Residents of Union Grove get to vote in yet another election in this year of elections for Wisconsin citizens. The local high school has scheduled a referendum for Tuesday, May 15th, to determine whether or not the school should proceed with a $1.9 million plan to renovate the school’s track and field facilities. Citizens voted down a similar referendum back in 2010.
Proponents of the referendum make a convincing argument that the renovations are needed for the sake of students and the long-term fiscal strength of the district. District Administrator Alan Mollerskov wrote in a recent school newsletter that the tools given to the district by Act 10 (the collective bargaining reform measure) allowed the school’s budget to stay in the black despite several factors that led to a decrease in revenue for the district.
Necessary or not, the timing of the referendum is perhaps a bit suspect sandwiched as it is between two other elections. The recall election primary is on May 8 and the recall general election will be held on June 5. School board members said that the referendum could not wait until the fall general election without jeopardizing the project’s planned timetable. But holding a referendum just a week after a high profile statewide primary, and just weeks before yet another high profile statewide election means local taxpayers will need to foot the bill for yet another election.
The Racine Journal-Times reports that the stand-alone referendum election will cost district taxpayers up to $11,000, but placing the measure on the same ballot as another election would cost only $4,000.
With the June 5 general election for the recall only weeks away, the only benefit the district could likely achieve by holding a referendum vote on an obscure date would be a much lower voter turnout than would otherwise be the case if the measure was placed on the ballot in an already-scheduled election. Depending on taxpayer sentiment in the Union Grove School District, if a similar referendum was defeated in 2010 and voter opinion remains unchanged, depressing the turnout by holding the referendum as a stand-alone election could tilt the results in favor of those wanting to spend more money.
Raising the extra funds may be necessary for the district, but holding a referendum on an obscure date lost between two other elections does not speak well of the kind of transparency and openness that most taxpayers want to see in local government.
Slimy? Are you kidding me? Hell yes!
But here in
Using a page out of the liberal playbook, if you keep losing, as Franklin did with school referenda in the 1990's, your school board, one that is completely out of touch with the fiscally conservative electorate, keeps coming back again and again with the oh so popular mantra that the tax and spend increase is " for the children."
Nobody votes in December.
Another was held on June 3, 1997.
Nobody votes in June.
You know where we're going here.
Seems the referendum in each case was staged at a time when only the special interests would turn out (and they did) to pass a YES vote.
That's why the recent school board election in
These kinds of shenanigans are now, I hope, impossible in
On the horizon is another school referendum vote in
I'll be happy to gloat on Election night when whatever referendum they give us goes down in flames.
UPDATE: Of course it passed.