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Referendum Resource Center

Thinking about going to referendum? The WASB Referendum Resource Center provides a series of WASB resources and links to other organizations to help boards understand the steps that are needed throughout the referendum process. Contact the WASB with any questions.

Note: Please keep in mind that sample materials from Wisconsin school districts are included for demonstration purposes. They should be carefully reviewed and adapted to meet the needs of your district.

Step One—Identify District Needs & Potential Referendum Options

hand vote(1-3 years before referendum)

At least one year before going to referendum, a district should clearly identify its needs and explore its referendum options.

Step Two—Develop Key Message; Define Community Engagement Approach
colored pencils

(1 year – 18 months before referendum)

Once you’ve decided to explore the possibility of going to referendum, you’ll need to develop a plan to gauge your community’s support.

Step Three—Educate & Engage District Residents
community engagement

(6 months – 1 year before referendum)

Engaging district residents should be an ongoing effort involving all aspects of school district governance.

Step Four—Formal Board Action

board action(3-6 months before referendum)

Setting a referendum data requires formal board approval. Understand your options and the specific statutory requirements.

Step Five—Ongoing Public Information Effort Continues

continuing community engagement(0-3 months before referendum)

Getting the approval of voters for a referendum requires communication and education. Voters need to clearly understand the needs of your district and what is being asked of them, and board members need to know clearly what they can say and do, and what they cannot.

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122 West Washington Avenue | Suite 400 | Madison, Wisconsin 53703-2761 | Phone: 608-257-2622 | Fax: 608-257-8386 | Email: info@wasb.org