My Racine County – High School Officials Consider Timing of Next Referendum

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By Dave Fidlin

Corresponding

With large-scale factors beyond the district’s control, officials at Waterford Union High School could wait until next year to reverse the failed referendum this spring.

At the last school board meeting, WUHS officials delved into possible reasons why the April Ballot issue — asking residents for permission to fund $19.75 million in facility-related improvements — has failed on a vote of 2,308 to 2,097.

Peter Leatherman of the Morris Leatherman Co. was present at the meeting, held July 25, and discussed a number of referendum issues, including the potential timing of the next one.

Immediately after this spring’s vote count, WUHS officials went back to the drawing board and began considering when another referendum might be presented to voters. The upcoming fall general election in November has been cited as a possibility.

Leatherman, however, suggested officials hit the “pause” button as next steps are being considered for a number of reasons.

Rising fuel prices and inflationary impacts that come to mind could pose challenges to another referendum this fall, Leatherman said. The noisy partisan nature of the political races this fall could also impact another referendum attempt.

“Wait until next year. It gives you the opportunity to communicate,” Leatherman said. “I think it makes sense to use the fall to tell your story.”

Leatherman, who surveyed residents of WUHS’ geographic footprint earlier this summer, said there was openness to a referendum, based on feedback received.

Overall, residents are happy with WUHS and the value it brings to the community, Leatherman said, but expressed a desire to see a demonstrated need presented to them for such support.

“There’s tolerance there,” Leatherman said. “It’s not necessarily a tax issue.”

Chairman of the board, Michael Schoenfeld, said the information gathered from the consultant was instructive.

“It was very insightful,” Schoenfeld said. “I’m glad we went through that process.”

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