Badger Announces Referendum for April 2021 Ballot

Lake Geneva-Genoa City Union (Badger) High School District Announces Referendum for April 2021 Ballot
Posted on 12/16/2020
Lake Geneva-Genoa City Union (Badger) High School District Announces Referendum for April 2021 Ballot

On December 14, 2020, the Lake Geneva-Genoa City Union (Badger) High School Board made the decision to go to referendum on April 6, 2021. This news follows last week’s announcement, that the Lake Geneva Joint #1 School District will also be going to referendum in April 2021.


The voters will be asked to approve the exceeding of the revenue limit by $750,000 for each district for the 2021-2022 school year and thereafter, for recurring purposes consisting of ongoing operational expenses to address issues for both the Lake Geneva-Genoa City Union (Badger) High School District and the Lake Geneva Joint #1 District. If approved by voters, the solution will provide recurring funds to maintain current district programming and services within each district. Additionally, the Badger School District will ask voters to approve a $6 million renovation to the existing high school for needed facility improvements.


“Both the Joint #1 and Badger Districts are seeking $750,000 annually in additional revenue above their current revenue limits,” stated Dr. James Gottinger, District Administrator. Gottinger went on to say, “an operational referendum allows the Districts to maintain our educational programming and class sizes, retain staff, and address safety and technology needs.”


The need for the additional $750,000 for each District is a result of fixed expenses continuing to rise, the increased demand for technology and school safety within the five schools, as well as the substantial decrease in revenue due to declining enrollments.


“We have already made budget reductions in the 2019-2020 year through staffing reductions of $1.5 million in the Lake Geneva Joint #1 District and $600,000 in Badger for the 2020-2021 year,” Gottinger stated. The referendum will enable the districts to maintain optimal class sizes, as well as maintain strong academic programs, continue to support a wide array of elective programs, and retain and attract highly qualified staff,” he stated.


According to Gottinger, the renovation to the existing high school will include the following facility improvements:

  • Replacement of oldest roofing sections 

  • Technology enhancements

  • Upgrade 1958 portions of Badger High School

    • Remodel of cafeteria/union

    • Replace original main gymnasium bleachers and flooring to provide safe, secure and comfortable environments for students, staff and the community

    • Remodel and secure lobby area and restrooms to meet code and foster a safe and secure environment

    • Renovate the Badger kitchen

    • Address Code, Maintenance, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issues throughout 1958 portions of the building 

  • Upgrades to the auditorium, LED lighting and athletic facilities 


Regarding Badger’s need for a facilities referendum, Gottinger stated, “Wisconsin school districts have been subject to State imposed revenue limits since 1993. Badger, like most school districts in the State, works hard to balance the budget on an annual basis and keeps spending within these revenue controls. However, it is difficult to fund large-scale capital projects, including renovations, within the constraints of the normal operating budget. This creates the need for a facilities referendum approval by the taxpayers.”  


According to Gottinger, Badger has just finished paying off a considerable amount of debt which will allow these facility needs and revenue limit increases to take place with no tax increase to the Badger District. 


 “More and more school districts across the state and in our area have gone to referendum to meet their budgetary needs and we are one of the last to ask,” stated Lake Geneva Schools Business Administrator, George Chironis. “Over the past six years, the tax rate for both districts have steadily declined and the referendum needs will have little or no tax impact on the community. The Badger District will see no increase in the tax rate, while the Lake Geneva Joint 1 District will see a tax rate that is still less than 2019-2020. A referendum information hub located on lakegenevaschools.com will be created to keep the public informed and public informational sessions will be planned,” Chironis continued.


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