MENOMONEE FALLS - The majority of voters in the School District of Menomonee Falls voted against the district's operating referendum that asked to temporarily lift the revenue limit by 2 percent for three years.
It was a close decision Tuesday, April 4, with 51.5 percent opposed and 48.5 percent in favor of the referendum; 7,730 voters made the decision.
According to the school district, since the referendum did not pass, electives, class sizes and schools will be reconfigured. The district will cut $1 million per year over the next three years from those areas.
In a written statement to the Northwest Now on the referendum results, Superintendent Pat Greco thanked everyone for being involved in the referendum discussions since the beginning.
"We have an extraordinary community filled with people who care deeply," Greco said. "Although we may not agree on everything, having the opportunity to give every member of the community a voice is important. Regardless of the referendum result, we want to thank everyone for their involvement in this process. The result may make education look different in our community, but we will continue to work hard to provide a quality education for children and a fiscally responsible budget for our taxpayers. SDMF schools are strong. We have remarkably talented students, staff and leaders, and parents who are passionate about the education of their children."
The nearly even split on the referendum vote was evident at the polls on election day.
Resident James Nabralla said he voted against the referendum because there are too many politics involved in the issue.
"I voted no on the referendum because the state took money away from the schools and I don’t think that was proper," Nabralla said. “There’s just too much junk going on in the politics of it. It’s just a big issue and that’s my only issue.”
Suzanne Schwartz said the referendum was the issue on the ballot closest to her heart.
"I want the teachers to get a decent salary, and I want those classrooms to be small," Schwartz said. "The children learn better in a smaller environment and teachers have more time to be with each one.”
Jefferson Davis has lived in Menomonee Falls since 1986. While he was opposed to the referendum, he appreciated how accommodating the district officials were with residents, no matter which way they were going to vote.
"(School officials) have been very cordial, very cooperative, transparent and helpful," Davis said. "They have never tried to stonewall or conceal anything. They have been more than kind when I have approached them at school board meetings, in their office or through email communications.”
The bottom line, Davis said, is everyone he knows in Menomonee Falls wants the children to have a good education, but he thinks there are better alternatives to explore for cost reduction, like the privatization of some district services and a re-evaluation of employee benefits.