Referendum questions: Two pass, MAPS referendum is a no-go

Now the matters go back to State legislators and the MAPS BOE to move forward


Merrill and Lincoln County residents voted on three referendum questions in the April 2, 2024, election last Tuesday.
Two of the questions, those being the statewide referendum questions asking residents if they wanted section 7 (1) and (2) of article III of the state constitution to be created, passed overwhelmingly in both Lincoln County and statewide.
According to the unofficial results from Lincoln County (not yet verified by the Board of Canvass), 4,328 residents (or 61.36%) voted yes to the first state referendum question (pertaining to prohibiting the use of private funds being used in connection with election administration), and statewide, 54.4% of voters voted yes.
Likewise, 4,810 residents (or 68.56%) of Lincoln County voters voted yes to the second state referendum question (pertaining to whether only election officials designated by law should perform election-related tasks), and statewide, 58.5% of voters also voted yes.
Now the issue will go back to legislators to enact the appropriate constitutional amendment in accordance with the wishes of Wisconsin residents.
MAPS Referendum
The third referendum question put to voters in the Merrill Area Public Schools (MAPS) district was whether the district should be authorized to borrow $16,000,000 to facilitate the district’s facilities realignment plan and the necessary expenses associated with that plan. In Lincoln County, 2,245 voters (or 46.10%) voted in favor of the referendum, but 2,625 voters (53.90%) voted no, so the referendum failed. [Of note, a portion of the MAPS district extends into the townships of Ackley and Vilas in Langlade County; however, only one person in either township voted on the referendum, and that single vote was a no vote.]
Now the matter will go back to the MAPS Board of Education (BOE) to determine how to move forward.
“We will start that discussion at this month’s Board meeting on April 17,” Shannon Murray, MAPS Superintendent said. “The plan that was developed is the right plan so the question becomes if we still want to proceed, how, how long will it take, how to fund it, etc. More questions than answers at this time unfortunately.”

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