Operating Referendum 2023

MPSD Approves April 4 Operating Referendum
Posted on 01/11/2023
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For release: Jan. 11, 2023 | Contact: James Feil, Superintendent | 920-686-4781 or [email protected]  

MPSD Approves April 4 Operating Referendum

Referendum would keep tax rate lower than 2015-16

Manitowoc - The Board of Education voted Jan. 10 to place an operating referendum on the April 4, 2023 election ballot seeking funds to maintain K-12 educational programming and opportunities, including staffing, facilities and technology needs. 

As a renewal to operating referendums approved by voters in 2015, 2018 and 2021, the district is asking to exceed the state’s revenue limits to sustain programs and services amid rising inflation and inadequate state aid as a low-revenue district under state funding formulas.

If approved, the five-year operating referendum would increase the school property tax levy rate from its 38-year record low but keep the rate through 2027-2028 lower than it was in 2015-2016.

The projected school tax increase on a $100,000 home would be $169 in the first year, $17 in the second, $33 in the third, $34 in the fourth, and $46 in the fifth year, for a total five-year increase of $299. However, these projections are fiscally conservative and actual MPSD tax rates and increases have been lower than projected in each of the past eight years. 

More information will be shared in the next two months and the district will hold public informational sessions.

The referendum would allow the district to exceed state revenue limits in the following amounts to support the district’s operations:

  • $5,200,000* for the 2023-2024 school year 

  • $11,000,000 for the 2024-2025 school year

  • $13,000,000 for the 2025-2026 school year

  • $15,000,000 for the 2026-2027 school year

  • $17,500,000 for the 2027-2028 school year

* This amount is in addition to the $4,300,000 voters approved in the April 2021 operating referendum, bringing the 2023-2024 total to $9,500,000. 

Referendum funds would be used to maintain programs and educational opportunities, with the district applying feedback from the strategic plan survey results from all MPSD stakeholders. The referendum would: 

  • Offer a wide range of academic courses, programs and services for all students

  • Provide competitive wages/benefits to attract and retain highly qualified staff, as well as employee training and development

  • Address capital improvement projects on our aging buildings on an annual basis

  • Update technology Infrastructure and implement a technology device replacement system

The MPSD takes pride in being fiscally responsible and has been a low-spending school district for more than two decades. MPSD’s school property tax rate is the second-lowest in Manitowoc County and among the lowest in the state. MPSD’s rate for 2022-2023 is $5.51 per $1,000 of equalized property value, compared to the county average rate of $6.51 and the state average rate for K-12 districts of $7.68. 

If the referendum passes, the district’s overall budget in the first year will have a decrease in both revenues (down $546,893 or -0.75%) and expenditures (down $620,050 or -0.85%), partly due to the expiration of federal ESSER funds provided for pandemic support along with extensive inflationary impacts. The proposed referendum amounts are based on projections that the state will provide an increase in per-pupil funding. The last two years the state provided no per-pupil increase. 

MPSD Superintendent Jim Feil said the district would only use the funds necessary to meet its operational needs with the oversight of the Board of Education through the annual budget process. 






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