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Delavan-Darien Referendum 2018

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VIDEO: GET THE FACTS from Superintendent Crist

Superintendent Robert Crist, Ed.D. explains the facts about the referendum in this video:

On The Ballot

Ballot Text: Shall the School District of Delavan-Darien, Walworth and Rock Counties, Wisconsin be authorized to exceed the revenue limit specified in Section 121.91, Wisconsin Statutes, by $500,000 per year beginning with the 2018-2019 school year through the 2020-2021 school year for non-recurring purposes to pay for improvements to Borg Stadium, installation of a dual turf field for soccer/football, new track and academic and vocational areas at the high school, including culinary arts and autos, and by $3,000,000 beginning with the 2018-2019 school year for recurring purposes to pay for operating costs to maintain the District’s educational programs?

If approved, the school tax is estimated to increase by $202 per year for the first three years (2018/19-2020/21), and drops to $173 per year for year 4 (2021/22) and thereafter, for every $100,000 of property value.

What is an Operational Referendum?

An operational referendum asks voter permission to exceed the state-imposed revenue limit for the purpose of funding annual school operations.

Increasing costs, declining enrollment and state funding, and sustaining competitive compensation to attract and retain highly-qualified staff have outpaced the district’s revenue, which is capped by the state’s revenue limit formula. We recognize that borrowing — as the district has done to meet operational costs — is not a sustainable solution.

What Will It Cost?

If approved, the school tax is estimated to increase by $202 per year for the first three years (2018/19-20/21), and drops to $173 per year for year 4 (2021/22) and thereafter, for every $100,000 of property value.

Referendum 2018 Estimated Tax Increase

Estimated Tax Increase
$3,500,000 for Years 1-3
2018/19 – 2020/21
$2.02 (per $1,000 of equalized property value)
$3,000,000 for Year 4
and thereafter

$1.73 (per $1,000 of equalized property value)
Per YearPer Month Per YearPer Month
$100,000 of Property Value$202$17$173$14
$150,000 of Property Value$303$26$260$21
$200,000 of Property Value$404$34$346$29

Taxes & Revenue Limits

Delavan-Darien has invested in our staff, facilities and programming to remain competitive and meet the needs of our students. However, to do so, the district has borrowed funds to meet current operational expenses. This is not a sustainable solution.

Did You Know?

  • The district’s tax levy, the amount collected from local taxpayers, is at its lowest level in more than six years.
  • Since 1993, state funding does not provide equal revenue for all children.
  • Delavan-Darien’s base revenue per child is the lowest in Walworth County, and remains below the state average. 
  • Delavan-Darien’s tax rate of $8.66 per $1,000 of equalized property value is one of the lowest in Walworth County.

IMAGE: Graph showing bar chart of district tax rate per $1,000, state revenue limit line and district revenue limit line.


Delavan-Darien Schools have made numerous improvements over the past few years. Here are some of them:

2016-17 Year In Review Video

2015-16 Year In Review Video

Top Marks in Walworth County on School Report Cards

IMAGE: School Report Card Banner/PosterDelavan-Darien School District had top marks in Walworth County on the state’s School Report Card ratings for 2016-17. The district’s score of 82.3 shows the schools were “Exceeding Expectations!” The score was less than a single point away from the highest category of “Significantly Exceeds Expectations.”

Phoenix Middle School did achieve the highest category ranking, with a school score of 85.0. That’s the top score in the county among traditional grades 6-8 middle schools!

The district achieved high scores primarily as a result of high student academic growth in the areas of reading and math at all tested grade levels.

Award Winning Programs

The district’s music program has been recognized three times nationally as a “Best Community for Music Education” by the National Association of Music Merchants. Less than 4% of schools in the country receive this distinction.

Delavan-Darien High School was awarded a Next Gen Personal Finance Gold Standard distinction for its commitment to educating ALL students in 21st Century personal finance skills. Only 600 high schools in the country received the award.

The Wisconsin RtI Center has recognized all five schools for their behavior programs, known as “The Comet Code.” DDHS received a Silver award, with Phoenix, Darien, Turtle Creek and Wileman all receiving bronze awards. Our students are taught to Be Respectful, Be Responsible and Be Safe at all times!

New Programs

In the last five years, the district has revamped its Technical Education spaces, creating Fab Labs at DDHS and Phoenix Middle School, refurbished woods and metals shops, and brought back an Auto Mechanics Program after a decade without one.

The district also instituted a one-to-one technology program, putting a laptop in the hands of every student. And, Delavan-Darien is first and only district in the county to offer a choice Spanish-English Dual Language Program, allowing students to become biliterate, bilingual and bicultural starting in 4-year-old Kindergarten.

This referendum would also support the creation of a new Culinary Arts program at DDHS.

Opportunities to Learn More

EMAIL questions to referendum2018@ddschools.org

SCHEDULE an informational presentation for neighbors or
community groups at 262-233-6751

STOP IN for Superintendent Open Door

  • Mondays, 4-6 p.m. now through April 2, School Administration Center, 324 Beloit St., Delavan.

ATTEND the Referendum Information Open House:

  • 6 p.m. Monday, March 19, 2018, at DDHS, 150 Cummings St., Delavan

OTHER CHANCES to learn more include presentations at:

  • 1 p.m. Thursday, March 15th at United Church of Christ
  • 7 p.m. Thursday, March 22nd, United Church of Christ

When To Vote

Election Day: 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Absentee Voting: Monday March 19 – Thursday March 29, 2018*
*March 29 is the last day to apply for and receive an absentee ballot by mail.

In-Person Early Voting: Monday, March 19 – Friday, March 30, 2018

Where to Vote

Depending on the municipality in which you live, voting locations are as follows:

  • City of Delavan: Delavan Municipal Building, 123 S. Second St., Delavan. Clerk Sue Kitzman, 728-5585
  • Village of Darien: Darien Village Hall, 24 N. Wisconsin St., Darien. Clerk REbecca LeMire, 882-5055
  • Town of Delavan: Town of Delavan Community Center, 1220 South Shore Drive, Delavan (corner of Highway 50 and South Shore Drive). Clerk Dixie Bernsteen, 728-3471
  • Town of Darien: Darien Town Hall, N2826 Foundry Road, Darien. Clerk Marilyn Larson, 882-3393
  • Town of Richmond: Richmond Town Hall, W9046 County Road A, Darien. Clerk Barb Ceas, 608-883- 2017
  • Town of Sharon: Sharon Town Hall, N1097 Bollinger Road, Sharon.
  • Town of Sugar Creek: N6641 County Road H, Elkhorn.
  • Town of Walworth: Walworth Town Hall, W6741 Brick Church Road, Walworth.
  • Town of Bradford (Rock County): 3622 S. Carvers Rock Road, Avalon.

Contact Municipal Clerks

Municipal Clerks can often help answer many questions about elections and voting. Contact your local clerk if you have questions about the upcoming April 3 election and voting process, including how to obtain absentee ballots and in-person early voting.

City of Delavan
Sue Kitzman
262-728-5585 Ext. 112

Village of Darien
Rebecca LeMire
Phone – 262-882-5055

Town of Bradford
Sandra Clarke

Town of Darien
Marilyn Larson

Town of Delavan
Dixie Bernsteen

Town of Richmond
Barbara Ceas

Town of Sharon
Karen Teliszczak

Town of Sugar Creek
Diane Boyd

Town of Walworth
Marie Baker

Tax Impact Calculator

  • Step One: Find the assessed value of your home. Start by choosing where you live and searching for your property: Walworth County or Rock County Residents or view your own paper copy of the latest county tax bill.
  • Step Two: After finding your property: For Walworth County choose “assessments” under the “Select Detail” menu and then choose “2017” for the year. For Rock County click on “Current Taxes” and look at “Assessed Value Total.”
  • Step Three: Enter the assessed value shown on the county websites here:

Where the Money Goes

What will the operational referendum pay for?

  • Sustaining current programs, including advanced course offerings, choice Dual Language Education Programming, special education programming, and computer technology for students.
  • Attracting and retaining highly-qualified staff with competitive compensation, providing appropriate student-teacher ratios, and delivering support for students of all academic abilities and diverse needs.
  • Upgrading vocational and technical education programs and classroom space, to include enhancement to autos, culinary and fine arts classrooms.
  • Providing facilities and safety upgrades at Borg Memorial Stadium for seating, track and field.

What Happens If

If the referendum fails, what will happen at Delavan-Darien Schools?

Although the district will cut approximately $1 million in 2018-19, further reductions will be required and may result in:
  • REDUCTION of staff, resulting in increased class sizes and elimination of programs and services;

  • REDUCTION in the ability to attract and retain highly-qualified staff;

  • REDUCTION in curriculum offerings and course materials to meet higher standards and goals;

  • REDUCTION in extra-curricular/athletics opportunities;

  • REDUCTION in funding for technology infrastructure and equipment upgrades;

  • REDUCTION in funding for building maintenance.