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What's next? White Lake referendum loses by two
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Officials in the White Lake school district are asking “what’s next?” after a $250,000 referendum was defeated by two votes Tuesday.

Final tally, subject to the official canvass on Thursday morning, was 179 opposed to 177 in favor.

A recount is probable, and absentee ballots caught in transit, but postmarked Tuesday, could still change the outcome if they are received by Friday, but officials are already beginning to look ahead.

“Right now, we are looking at a deficit of $286,000 for fall,” District Administrator Bill Fisher said, “which could potentially impact students, staff and building maintenance.”

Fisher said the board would meet in the coming weeks to discuss its options, which may include returning to voters in November for another try. If that vote is successful, that would allow time to amend the budget and avoid the cuts.

With a lack of statewide or national questions on the ballot, turnout was low, which Fisher said was an issue.

The referendum question asked district taxpayers for $250,000 annually above state-imposed revenue limits over the next three years to maintain existing programs.

It would have replaced a $200,000, three-year revenue cap override approved in April, 2011 that is expiring this year. The district has been operating with revenue-limit exemptions for 13 years.

White Lake school district residents currently pay $11.48 per $1,000 of valuation. If the plan had succeeded, the rate would have climbed to $12.43. It will now likely fall to $10.92.

The district floated its first successful revenue-limit exemption in 2001. The amounts have ranged from $200,000 to $250,000 annually for three to five years.

The vote tally includes:

—Wolf River: 82 yes, 76 no.

—Village of White Lake: 52 yes, 63 no.

—Evergreen: 43 yes, 37 no.

—Langlade: 0 yes, 3 no.


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