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Support Encouraged for Referendum in Belleville

 

November 3, 2022



Dear Editor and Belleville Community,

We are writing this letter to encourage you to support the Belleville School District operating referendum on the ballot November 8th. We currently have an excellent school district that the school board, administration, and staff have worked hard over the years to improve, and meet the diverse needs of our students. They have done this with significantly diminishing financial resources. Our school district has teachers who have been awarded state and national recognition and provide innovative and challenging programs for our students. Our students have improved, and are now highly successful, on all state mandated testing.

One issue we have heard from a few community members is about the “recurring” aspect of the referendum. If the “recurring” operating referendum is approved, the Belleville residents still have a built in “check and balance” through the annual board meeting. All residents are invited to attend this meeting where the school board, and Superintendent, present a review of the district successes and challenges, current financial status (including debt load) and the proposed tax levy for the next year. This is our opportunity to discuss and vote on the tax levy for the school district portion of our property taxes.

Belleville spends 71% of its budget on salaries and benefits (this is the low end of spending compared to most school districts in our area). The Consumer Price Index for the next school year has been set at 4.7% (a historically high rate). This alone will add about $500,000 to the next school year budget. In addition, we have all been hearing about the severe shortage of educational staff (teaches, administrators, bus drivers, food service staff, secretaries, custodians, etc.). In order to recruit, and retain, the highly qualified staff we have come to expect, and appreciate, we must be able to offer a competitive compensation package. Eight of the 16 school districts in Dane County have operational referenda scheduled for November 8th. We must pass this operational referendum so that we will not continue to lose highly qualified staff members to other nearby districts.

Another significant portion of the budget goes to fund maintenance projects. As we know as property owners, or renters, if maintenance is not provided in a timely manner these issues will usually cost us much more in the future. Approximately half of the last building referendum (2016) was used to pay for these types of repairs.

The School District of Belleville website (https://www.belleville.k12.wi.us) has an excellent article laying out all of the details of this referendum. We encourage you to go to this site and review their detailed information.

The health and strength of our community is only as good as our schools. If we do not have quality schools, families will not move here, or stay, in our community. Our young people are the future of our community, and country. We encourage you to vote YES and support this referendum.

Anne Colville and Ken Roberts,

Belleville

 
 

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