Board Approves Referendum on April 6th Ballot

Board Approves Referendum on April 6th Ballot
Posted on 01/19/2021
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Hello MPSD Families, 

I am very proud to lead the Manitowoc Public School District, where we have high-quality, caring staff, outstanding students and a supportive community of families, civic organizations and businesses. I know that our proud traditions have looked differently over the past ten months during this unprecedented pandemic. But we are excited to bring our students back to school and resume some of those great traditions.

I realize the timing for sharing information regarding a referendum is not ideal; however, it is critically important.

Our Board of Education members voted unanimously Jan. 12 to place an operating referendum question on the April 6 spring election ballot. The referendum will ask voters for approval for up to $4.3 million annually, for three years, to maintain existing K12 district-wide educational programming and opportunities, and fund capital and technology needs.

If approved, the amount will have little to no impact on school property taxes. The first year, MPSD’s school tax levy rate is projected to decrease by one cent from $7.81 per $1,000 of equalized home value to $7.80 in 2021-2022. MPSD’s tax rate has decreased in each of the past six years. 

One of lowest school tax rates in WI

MPSD would continue to have one of the lowest school tax rates in the state. In 2019, MPSD’s tax rate was $7.82 per $1,000 of equalized home value, compared to $9.46 for the state average and $9.60 for the Manitowoc County average.

In April 2018 voters approved a three-year operational referendum that expires at the end of this school year. If a referendum is not renewed, state revenue caps will require MPSD to make $3.5 million in annual budget cuts, as well as take approximately $1.2 million from the district’s fund balance.

That would require substantial cuts to district-wide staffing and programs in each of the next three years that could impact MPSD students for the next decade. Until the state changes its financial model for public instruction, we will continue to rely on our community's support to exceed the revenue limits through the passing of a referendum to fund our existing student programs and opportunities.

More information about the referendum will be shared in coming months before the April 6 election. If you have any questions, I encourage you to reach out to me at For now, I wanted to let you know that the Board voted to place this referendum question on the spring ballot. 

Thanks again for your patience and understanding during this difficult time. We will get through this and return to the normalcy we all crave. We also are learning some great lessons from this pandemic and we will use them to make MPSD’s educational experience even better in future years.

With gratitude,

Mark Holzman

MPSD Superintendent

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