Three Lakes School District pushes for referendum to stay open - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Three Lakes School District pushes for referendum to stay open

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Three Lakes School District leaders said if the referendum to raise more than two-million dollars fails, students may have to attend neighboring schools.

"We will not be able to balance our budget without these funds and we've done a lot of cutting of our programs," said District Administrator, George Karling.

Karling said the school has seen a drop in enrollment since 1998 and that's taken a toll on funding, from both the state and federal government.

"Our total loss in revenue has been just about 3 million," said Karling.

He said from 1998 to 2012, school enrollment has decreased by more than 200 students and the district needs more than two-million dollars a year for the next five years to stay open.

"For every 19.8 students that we've lost, we've reduced one instructional position so our numbers are leveling off," said Karling.

If the referendum passes, a homeowner with a $200,000 home would see school taxes go up by $116 per year to more than $1,100.

"I've had a very positive response from people, of course they have questions about what this means, what this means from a taxation standpoint, where we are," said Karling.

Many people in the area told Newsline 9 they support the referendum to keep school doors open and kids in classes at Three Lake School.

"I've had some grandkids here, one's name is up in the gym for weightlifting, the other one played football and both of them graduated from school here," said Three Lakes Resident, Maryann McCloskey.

Leaders said if the referendum fails, it will be costly.

"We will be insolvent, we will not be able to operate next school year," said Karling.

School leaders said they are working hard with the community to get the referendum passed.

The vote is scheduled for February 19th.

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