Rio Community School District

411 Church Street, Rio, WI 53960 - (920) 992-3141

District Administrator - Mr. Craig Vetter

Referendum Information

A Message from Craig Vetter, Superintendent

On April 2, 2019, voters in our district will be faced with two school related decisions on the ballot. There will be four candidates for two School Board seats; Incumbent Doug Shippert will be on the ballot along with Andrea Becker, Travis Heiman and Beth Laufenberg. School Board members play a vital role by being the voices of our district communities. The other item voters will need to decide on is whether to support a three year non-recurring operational referendum. The question on the ballot will read as follows:


“Shall the Rio Community School District, Columbia County, Wisconsin,

be authorized to exceed the revenue limit specified in Section 121.91,

Wisconsin Statutes, by $1,000,000 for the 2019-2020 school year,

$1,175,000 for the 2020-2021 school year and $1,250,000 for the

2021-2022 school year for non-recurring purposes consisting of

operational expenses?”


The School Board and I will be getting information out over the next couple of months to help everyone with making their decision on this question. We will have referendum informational meetings in our communities during the upcoming weeks. Also, please feel free to contact any Board member or myself if you have any questions concerning the referendum. I have listed three questions below you might have and a brief answer for each:


Didn’t we have a referendum three years ago and why do we need another one?

Yes, we are in the third and final year of the referendum which provides $975,000 to the budget for this school year. Under the current revenue limit formula, many small school districts like ours have to fill the budget gaps where State funding has fallen short which is why we ask our taxpayers to pass a referendum.


What will the money be used for if the referendum passes?

As it states in the referendum question, the money will be used for operational expenses. It is our goal to continue to offer our students a quality education. In order to do so, we need to maintain the classes and programs we currently have in place while looking ahead to see what other options we can offer our students.


What will happen if the referendum fails?

If the referendum fails, the School Board and administration will have the task of removing approximately $975,000 from next year’s budget. Removing such a large amount would cause us to analyze every part of the budget for ideas where we can make cuts. Staffing, courses, programs, extracurriculars and everything else would be up for discussion. Some of the gap could be closed by taking money from our fund balance reserves, but this would not be a long term solution. By law, if the referendum were to fail, we will not be able to attempt another one until April of 2020. A delay in passage and use of our fund balance reserves might force us to start the conversation of whether consolidation or dissolution is in our future.