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Referenda Information

Community Survey Results

Background Information

North Lake School District is considering an operational referendum on the April 2, 2024 ballot. Without additional local funding, the quality of the education will be compromised. Ultimately, dissolution of the district could be a possibility without the additional local funding.

Wisconsin school districts are primarily funded by a combination of state aid and local property taxes.

Each school district in Wisconsin has a revenue limit created by the state budget. This limit caps the amount of money a district can receive through state aid and local property taxes.The revenue limit was set back in 1993 and has not kept pace with increasing costs and high inflation. 

A district’s revenue limit is directly linked to two things: enrollment and state-approved adjustments. The North Lake School District had 331 students enrolled for the 2022-23 school year. Over the previous four years, enrollment ranged from 308 to 335.  

The district has worked diligently to control spending, reallocate existing funds, and improve educational programming. Before Spring 2022, the North Lake School District was one of the few districts in the state that hadn’t gone to voters with an operational referendum question. Regardless, the North Lake School District still needs additional local funding.

In addition, the North Lake School District has seen a significant drop in the amount of equalized aid it receives from the state over the past 20 years. 

Below is a chart that shows the equalization aid for the District from 2013 to last school year: 

Equalization Aid History Chart

Annual Meeting

School District Consolidation

Pros of Local Control

Cons of Consolidation

Preservation of property valuesExcessively long bus rides
Upholding academic excellenceStandardization of curriculum
Accountability of school board membersMinimal financial incentive from state
Protection of community safety & securityIncreased staffing needs & continued building maintenance

Top Eight Reasons To Keep Our Great K-8!

1. Student bus rides would exceed 45+ minutes. The average bus ride for a North Laker is currently 20 minutes despite the district’s largely rural geography. Consolidation could increase time on buses anywhere from 45-50 minutes for K-4 and 1.5 hours for 5-8.
2. Consolidation efforts tend to be facility driven. If one K-8 district building is in bad disrepair, then it might make sense to consolidate with another district that has been properly maintained. However, the majority of Arrowhead Area feeder schools are in great shape and no one district could house the student population of another. Consolidation would NOT eliminate any of the K-8 facilities therefore would NOT produce any cost savings. The facility maintenance and staffing needs to remain with consolidation.
3. There is little state financial incentive to consolidate. Districts might receive an additional $150 per pupil under consolidation for a five year period. Yet, this minimal increase would not be adequate considering all the additional costs such as transportation.
4. Research shows that academic achievement is higher in smaller K-8 districts than in larger K-12 systems. North Lake School continues to earn the highest rank on the state report card.
5. Community safety and security would remain a priority with an operational school in community boundaries.
6. Property values would decrease without a successful school system in the community boundaries. Taxes could also increase in a larger K-12 system.
7. The K-12 curriculum is standardized and might not match the community values.
8. Local control is lost if the K-8 districts consolidate.

You Can Help

  • Community Members, please continue to advocate for our GREAT K-8! 
  • Parents, ask questions on behalf of your children to learn more. 
  • Stakeholders, contact your local legislators regarding the challenges with the state school funding model for districts like ours. 
  • Families, talk to your neighbors while getting the word out about North Lake School District’s financial need.

School Funding Reform

Why It Matters

School funding impacts opportunities for every kid, adult, and community.

What Is It?

What do we mean when we talk about “school funding reform?”

Why a School Referendum?

Learn why schools in Wisconsin put questions on the local ballot.

How To Fix It

Specific changes to the school funding system can work for our state.