SDR looks toward fall operational referendum
By Eileen Persike
The Rhinelander School Board is expected to vote May 16 on whether to bring an operational referendum to voters in November. The referendum question, to exceed the revenue limit by $4 million a year for four years, was approved by the Operations and Strategic Planning committee May 9.
Since 2010, School District of Rhinelander taxpayers have approved three referendums to exceed the revenue limit. The current one expires the end of the 2022-23 school year, and provides $4.25 million per year for district operations.
“As someone fairly new to this community, it is both refreshing and encouraging to see the passion excitement and love for our schools,” said Superintendent Eric Burke.
A recent survey by the district showed support from the community for the district’s facilities, academic and extra-curricular offerings, Burke continued.
“So we’re in a good place. We’re also in a place where, to continue those same offerings and programming and facilities and all those things, the operational referendum is critical,” he said.
Burke also noted the district will hire a consulting firm to assist with messaging for the referendum, at a cost of $15,995. The Donovan Group most recently worked with Elcho and Tomahawk to successfully pass their referendums last month.
Board member Mike Roberts said a consultant’s ability to simplify complex information, such as tax levies and the school funding formula, is helpful.
“It can be confusing and hard to really understand the tax levy, how that moves with the revenue limit, and how the revenue limit doesn’t change, and all that,” Roberts said. “Having a consultant who is an expert at taking that technical knowledge … and being able to boil that down to language that we can understand and that the community can understand, I think is worthwhile.”
The full board meeting is Monday, May 16 at 6 p.m. at Rhinelander High School.