Winnebago School Referendum

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It's been more than 17 years since voters approved a tax levy for Winnebago schools, which is why school leaders say they really need the money.

"The state is giving us less funding. We have a new school online that costs us quite a bit of money every year and costs are rising," said Winnebago school board member Chuck Fricke.

And like many other local districts, Winnebago is asking taxpayers for help. On the March 16 ballot voters will be asked to approve a 95-cent education fund tax increase.

“Anyone knows you can't continue to operate even in your personal homes, your businesses you can't operate on the same rate as you were in 1987," said Winnebago school board member Janet Klinger.

When a referendum for Winnebago failed last April, board members cut nine teaching positions and raised student fees. The board could have to make more cuts if the measure fails.

“We'll have to cut another additional nine or ten teachers, a lot of support staff and extra curricular activities which are a lot more than sports," said Fricke.

A group pushing for the referendum's passage will have to convince many residents dealing with their own budget troubles.

"It calls for increasing taxes and the percentage of taxes might be more than most people can bear,” says Winnebago voter Quinton Suggs.

If the referendum passes, leaders say the funding would carry the district through at least 2009-10. The district will hold a talk on the upcoming referendum on March at 14 at 6 p.m. at the high school.