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Referenda Information

Referendum Facts

Why is an April 2, 2024 operational referendum the only option?

  • The district is unable to cut current costs any further without compromising its quality K-8 public school education.
  • It is your shared responsibility as a taxpayer.
  • The state has backed away from supporting public schools.
  • The reality of school finance is that the state no longer shares in the costs of local public schools like ours.
  • The school funding model has been broken since 1993.
  • North Lake School needs your community support or the district could dissolve.

What happens if the April 2, 2024 referendum does not pass?

There will be a final question on the November 2024 ballot.

PASSNorth Lake School continues to thrive.
FAILNorth Lake School considers dissolution.

North Lake School Referenda Since 1995

4/2/2024$TBDDay-to-day Operational Expenses Only – Maintain Status Quo
4/4/2023$3,600,000 (split over 3 years)Day-to-day Operational Expenses Only – Maintain Status QuoFailed
11/4/2014$2,260,000Capital Maintenance Projects – Parking Lot, HVAC, FlooringPassed
4/4/1995$3,680,00040,000 sq. ft. Facility ExpansionPassed

Failed 2023 Refendum - The Impact

Because the operational referendum failed, the district will not receive the 1.1 million dollars that it needed to maintain educational programming and to sustain operational costs for the 2023-24 school year.  

The majority of North Lake School’s spending is dedicated to staffing (78%). 

NLSD Expenditures

Staffing reductions must occur for the 2023-2024 school year due to the failed 2023 referendum. 

2023-2024 Decreased Spending


2023-2024 Increased Revenue


Reduce support staff positions in the area of special educationCharge the fee for private pay transportation
Eliminate the grades 5-8 Tech. Ed. positionReceive NLEF fundraising dollars for technology needs
Terminate the shared band education service agreements including consortium bandIncrease student registration and activity fees
Accept retirements for the following five positions: District Secretary, Speech & Language Pathologist, Special Education Director, Gifted and Talented Coordinator, and Lunchroom SupervisorExpect 20 new open enrollment students
Eliminate two interventionist teaching positions
Accept two classroom teacher resignations
Reduce the speech/language pathologist position to part-time
Reduce office/custodial staffing
Change staff benefits in Employee Handbook
Eliminate private pay and transportation for advanced classes at Arrowhead
Fill classroom teaching positions internally
Fill Special Education Director position internally
Fill Gifted and Talented Coordinator position internally

Open Enrollment - The Success Story

Open Enrollment Timeline Chart

Open enrollment is a huge revenue generator for North Lake School.

The North Lake School Board continues to solve the district’s annual operating deficit by making thoughtful decisions that are least disruptive to our GREAT K-8. 

The North Lake School Board is committed to maintaining a healthy and happy two section school. This research based model is best for your children’s educational success. Open enrollment students continue to support this commitment and have allowed the school to successfully operate two classes per grade level. 

The regular open enrollment window has closed but families can apply again beginning July 1st on the Department of Public Instruction website. 

North Lake School is a destination district. Twenty brand new open enrollment students are expected for the 2023-2024 school year. There are still open seats and we hope to add at least 20 more open enrollment students in 4K through 8th.

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 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 be compromised without an operational school in the community boundaries. Police presence would be further reduced and an empty school building would invite trouble.
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.

State of WI - Biennial Budget (2023-2025)

Details Coming July 1, 2023

The State of Wisconsin’s budget covers a 2-year period from July 1 of one odd-numbered year through June 30 of the next odd-numbered year. Development of the biennial budget involves a nearly year-long process. In the fall of the even-numbered year, state agencies submit budget requests to the Department of Administration. Requests are compiled by the State Budget Office for review by the Governor. The Governor is required by law to deliver the budget message to the new legislature on or before the last Tuesday in January, although the legislature can extend the deadline at the Governor’s request.

To meet the state’s budgetary cycle, the budget should be signed and effective by July 1 of the odd-numbered year. If there is a delay, state agencies operate at their appropriation authority from the prior budget until the new budget is in effect.

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.