Monroe School District’s referendum cost 10 to 15 times what the District had communicated to voters
The News: Today, in support of citizens and taxpayers in the Monroe School District, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) submitted a letter to the school board, urging it to pause its project for a new high school and hold a new special referendum. In the lead up to the referendum last fall, statements by Monroe School District staff misled the entire community about the effect this project would have on property taxes.
The Quote: WILL Deputy Counsel, Luke Berg, stated, “WILL strongly believes that voters should have accurate financial information and be able to trust the information given to them by their school representatives. The District can still do the right thing and redo the referendum, allowing voters to choose knowing the true effect on property taxes.”
Background: Last fall, taxpayers in Monroe voted on an $88 million referendum for building a new high school. However, most of its citizens did not understand the tax impact, due to repeated statements by the District that the net impact would be an increase of only $13 in taxes per $100,000 in home value—when the true impact was actually 10 to 15 times that. Many Monroe taxpayers and voters were shocked when they received their tax bills, and are rightfully angry at the District for its misleading communications.
The District has apologized and acknowledged that its statements confused and misled voters, yet so far, the District has plowed ahead with the project.
The Letter: WILL sent the District a letter, urging the school board to do more than apologize, explaining that it is not too late to correct the mistake by redoing the election. The board can, and should, offer a special referendum to voters, now that everyone knows the true costs, so that the results truly represent the “will of the electors.” If the District wants to “regain the public’s confidence,” as it has indicated it needs to, the best way to do that is to let voters decide knowing the true costs.
- Letter to Monroe School District, February 13, 2023