On April 5, 2022, the residents of the district will have the opportunity to vote on an Operational Referendum. The 5-year operating levy approved by voters in 2016 has expired at the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Another operating levy is needed to re-establish school finance strength & student programs for three years. After three years the operating request will be considerably less. Community support this April would avoid major reductions that would otherwise need to be considered in the Spring of 2022. The Operational Referendum asks permission for the school district to exceed the state-imposed revenue limit by $1,000,000 for the 2022-2023 school year, by $1,100,000 for the 2023-2024 school year, and by $1,200,000 for the 2024-2025 school year. The Plum City School District realizes this is a significant amount. The funds are required to stabilize the district’s financial condition during these three years.
The referendum is NOT a referendum to incur debt. As with the current expiring referendum, funds associated with this referendum provide for ongoing operations on a yearly basis related to educational programming, technology, transportation, and facilities maintenance that was deferred. Many investments in these areas simply are not possible without the referendum dollars and the support from our community.
Why is there a referendum?
While our district continues to cut costs, it is difficult to maintain the services and programming our students currently receive. The district’s Revenue Limit authority three years ago in 2018-19 was $3,237,000 and in 2021-22 it was $2,716,000. That $521,000 reduction in the district’s revenue represents a 16% reduction in authority to raise revenue to pay for expenses. Meanwhile, despite active cost reducing actions by the Board, expenses to run the school district have increased during that time by $357,000. This represents a budget shortfall of $878,000. Without additional revenue raising authority from the community, this funding gap will continue to widen in future years based on the current state budget. This referendum seeks public funding now in order to prevent the items below.
What happens if the referendum does not pass?
Please see the pie chart to see our needs for the referendum.
A successful Operating Referendum would impact taxes as shown below:
The bar graph located at the right provides a snapshot of our mill rates compared to mill rates of similarly-sized schools as of now. Taxpayers will still pay taxes, but it be at the same or potentially a higher rate and it would be paid to another school district.
Mill Rates over Time
Below is an image of our mill rates over the different school years. If the referendum passes, the mill rates will still be less than it was in on the prior referendum.
Click here for a larger picture.
Plum City School District tries to minimize spending while trying to provide quality services to our students. According to the bar graph, you can see a comparision of how much Plum City School District spends per student in comparison to other similarly-sized schools.
Grants Awarded & Other Savings
The Plum City School District has been aggressively applying to many different grants and looking for discounts in order to save as much money as possible. Below are a list of grants and discounts that either were awarded or are still pending approval.
Grant awarded for student and staff laptops and hotspots. These devices are instrumental in providing student instruction.
Discounts given for SMART Board purchases throughout the district.
Grant awarded by federal government for updating internet connectivity within our school district. We have $27,118.56 left over to spend over the next 3 years.
Grant awarded by the state that was used to purchase cases for our students’ laptops, to protect the investment of the first grant.
Discounts given for purchasing audio technology equipment before the start of the pandemic.
Grant awarded by Monsanto for the purchase of microscopes and a microscope cart for science classes.
Application submitted to put towards new hot/cold food service lines in the high school kitchen – potential grant that may be awarded to us.
Grant awarded for new meal trays in the elementary school.