About the Operating Referendum

  • What is an Operating Referendum?

    An operating referendum asks permission from voters to exceed the state-imposed revenue limit for the purpose of funding school operations. It is not a referendum to incur debt to complete facility projects. 

    What will the Operating Referendum fund?

    Retention of high-quality staff who provide excellent programs and services for students.

    NOTE: Referendum dollars will not fund new programming or facility projects. 

    What if the Operating Referendum fails?

    • There will be reductions in staffing, beyond what is aligned to the decline in student enrollment. 
    • There will be reductions to programs and services for students.
    • There will be a negative impact on the ability to attract and retain high-quality teachers.

    KM is not alone. Operating Referendum is the "new normal"for school districts.

    Revenue limits and the Wisconsin school funding formula have not provided adequate funding for school districts across the state. Local school boards have the option of going to referendum to ask for taxpayer support for operating needs. In the past 25 years, the majority of school districts in Wisconsin have passed referenda to fund operations. Some of have passed multiple referenda. 

    School Referenda Chart


    Question on the April 2, 2019 Ballot

    Shall the School District of Kettle Moraine, Waukesha and Jefferson Counties, Wisconsin be authorized to exceed the revenue limit specified in Section 121.91, Wisconsin Statutes, by $5,975,000 per year beginning with the 2019-2020 school year and ending with the 2023-2024 school year, for non-recurring purposes consisting of operational expenses?