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Appleton Area Referendum (2009)

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The Appleton Area Referendum or Question 1 was one of two school bonds on the February 17 for the Appleton Area School District, which lies in Calumet County, Outagamie County and Winnebago County. The school board decided to put the measures to a vote at the December 22, 2008 board meeting, and the special election was held on February 17, 2009, where they both failed.[1] The second measure can be read about here: Appleton Area Bond (2009).

The referendum asked the voters to approve $10,900,000 in excess over the state-set revenue limits. The money would have been spread out as follows:

2009: $3,900,000
2010: $3,500,000
2011: $3,500,000
Total: $10,900,000

and the expected average tax impact would be $67 more on a house assessed at $100,000, or $0.67 per thousand dollars of assessed value.

The additional money was slated to be used to lower class sizes, increase course offerings, and add instructional materials.

Status

The measure was defeated, with 5,463 "yes" votes and 6,978 "no" votes. The related bond measure also failed.[2]

Wording of referendum

improving class size ratios and purchasing curriculum materials including instructional technology[2].

Lay-offs

On March 9, 2009 the Appleton Board of Education approved the lay-offs of 43 teachers in the School District as the Board voted unanimously 7-0 to approve the lay-offs. The layoffs come as both ballot measures were defeated by the voters of the City of Appleton[3].

The layoffs, which take effect June 9, 2009, come less than a month after voters on February 17th rejected a pair of referendum questions totaling $15.9 million and aimed at lowering class sizes, updating instructional methods and technology and improving security in AASD buildings[3]

"I am very disheartened, but we had to do it," said Sharon Fenlon, the President of the Appleton Board of Education. "We knew we would be laying off teachers because the referendum failed."[3]

Don Hietpas the Chief Financial Officer of the Appleton Area School District said in a Appleton Post-Crescent interview: "18 of the position cuts are tied directly to the failed referendum. Five of the cuts are necessary to create positions for teachers on leave and eligible to return to their jobs. The remaining eight positions reflect dropping high school enrollments (at Appleton West and Appleton North)."[3]

When asked about the possibility of a re-issuing of the failed referendum, Appleton Education Association President Mark Leschke said: "It's not a good idea to repeat the failed referendum, which he said was not a vote against education...The community has spoken. It's an understanding of the economic times." stated Leschke[3]

Leschke said union and school officials are keeping a close eye on the state budget and federal stimulus dollars heading to Wisconsin to possibly re-hire some teachers.

The staff cuts make up $1.8 million of the projected shortfall, but increase the average class size from 26.5 to 27 students in grades four through six and from 27.5 to 28.5 for grades seven through 12.

External links

References