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Referendum Resources

In the fall of 1993, the Wisconsin Legislature imposed limits on elected school boards' authority to determine their own budgets and revenue amounts. Most school district budgets have not even kept up with inflation. If school districts are to keep up with costs, their only recourse is to schedule a referendum asking voters for permission to raise more money than the revenue caps allow.

WEAC’s Local Associations screen local school board candidates and school referendum proposals and members vote on whether to recommend. WEAC members can find the recommendations on WEAC.org.

Advocating for Public Schools

The success or failure of a school district referendum usually depends on how well the referendum’s supporters communicate with voters in their communities.

Background and Research

Find out more about the 30-plus-year history of Wisconsin’s revenue caps and the referenda they have spawned. These laws are unique to Wisconsin.

School District Revenue Limits and Referenda: Informational Paper, State of Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau

K-12 On the Ballot: Using Referenda to Fund Public Schools: Forward Analytics Research Paper questioning the efficacy of relying on referenda to fund public schools.