District floats idea of a spending referendum

Growing deficits cause struggles for NOSD


Ozaukee Press staff

The Northern Ozaukee School District is considering going to referendum to get permission from voters to exceed state spending limits, and officials want to know what the public thinks.

To find out, school district residents will receive surveys in the mail this week and next.

The NOSD School Board is considering a referendum as the district faces a $300,000 deficit in the 2022-23 operating budget.

Meeting the deficit will require dipping into the district’s fund balance — a sort of rainy day fund — or cutting costs.

Drawing down the fund balance can be problematic since it often is used to help pay operating expenses when state funding lags.

“A sufficient fund balance is needed because schools start their fiscal year in July but don’t receive a majority of their revenues until January through March,” District Director of Business Services Josh McDaniel said in a press release.

Declining enrollment and the end of federal one-time grant money are two challenges facing the district, McDaniel said.

Officials say they’ve already cut spending by $1.75 million since the 2019-20 school year through staff reductions and increased class sizes.

Supt. Dave Karrels and McDaniel said that money currently used to more quickly pay down the district’s debt related to the 2018 capital projects referendum could be applied to a new referendum, bringing cash into the district without raising the tax rate.

Community approval in the form of a referendum would be required. The survey must be taken on paper or online.

For more information, visit www.nosd.edu/longrangebudgetplanning.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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