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Public School District Reorganization-School District Consolidation

(Wis. Stats. 117.08)


INITIATION OF PROCEDURES - Wis. Stats. 117.08(1)

The school boards of two (2) or more school districts may adopt resolutions stating that they will consider consolidating their school districts. The school district clerk of each school board adopting a resolution to consider consolidation under s. 117.08(1), Wis. Stats., shall send a certified copy of resolution to the school boards of each of the other affected school districts and to the Secretary of the School District Boundary Appeal Board.

Each school board adopting a resolution may specify that the alternative timeline in s.117.08 (5) (a) or (b), Wis. Stats., applies. (See examples of the three available options.)

SCHOOL BOARD ACTION - Wis. Stats. 117.08(2)

  1. If the school boards adopting a resolution to consider consolidation under s.117.08 (1) do not specify a timeline for the remainder of the process, the following timelines and procedures apply:

    In the first July following the adoptions of the resolutions to consider consolidation, the affected school boards may order the school districts consolidated by adoption of resolutions by each of those school districts ordering the consolidation. A consolidation may occur only if all of the affected school boards agree. The school district clerk of each school board adopting a resolution under s. 117.08(2), Wis. Stats., either ordering or denying a consolidation, shall, within five (5) days after the adoption of the resolution, send a certified copy of the resolution to the school boards of each of the other affected school districts and file a certified copy of the resolution as provided under s. 117.17(2), Wis. Stats.

    Failure of a school board to adopt a resolution either ordering or denying the consolidation before August 1 constitutes a denial of the consolidation by that school board.

    If the school board of each affected school district adopts a resolution ordering the consolidation, the consolidation shall take effect on the next July 1 unless a referendum, as described below, is required and the consolidation is defeated.

  2. If the school boards adopting a resolution to consider consolidation specify in the resolution under s.117.08 (1) that the timeline under s.117.08 (5) (a) applies the following timelines and procedures apply:

    In the first December following the adoptions of the resolutions to consider consolidation, the affected school boards may order the school districts consolidated by adoption of resolutions by each of those school districts ordering the consolidation. A consolidation may occur only if all of the affected school boards agree. The school district clerk of each school board adopting a resolution under s. 117.08(2), Wis. Stats., either ordering or denying a consolidation, shall, within five (5) days after the adoption of the resolution, send a certified copy of the resolution to the school boards of each of the other affected school districts and file a certified copy of the resolution as provided under s. 117.17(2), Wis. Stats.

    Failure of a school board to adopt a resolution either ordering or denying the consolidation before January 1 constitutes a denial of the consolidation by that school board.

    If the school board of each affected school district adopts a resolution ordering the consolidation, the consolidation shall take effect on the second July 1 after the date of the resolution ordering consolidation unless a referendum, as described below, is required and the consolidation is defeated.

  3. If the school boards adopting a resolution to consider consolidation specify in the resolution under s.117.08 (1) that the timeline under s.117.08 (5) (b) applies the following timelines and procedures apply:

    In the first May following the adoptions of the resolutions to consider consolidation, the affected school boards may order the school districts consolidated by adoption of resolutions by each of those school districts ordering the consolidation. A consolidation may occur only if all of the affected school boards agree. The school district clerk of each school board adopting a resolution under s. 117.08(2), Wis. Stats., either ordering or denying a consolidation, shall, within five (5) days after the adoption of the resolution, send a certified copy of the resolution to the school boards of each of the other affected school districts and file a certified copy of the resolution as provided under s. 117.17(2), Wis. Stats.

    Failure of a school board to adopt a resolution either ordering or denying the consolidation before June 1 constitutes a denial of the consolidation by that school board.

    If the school board of each affected school district adopts a resolution ordering the consolidation, the consolidation shall take effect on the second July 1 after the date of the resolution ordering consolidation unless a referendum, as described below, is required, and the consolidation is defeated.

REFERENDUM - Wis. Stats. 117.08(3)

If the affected school boards agree to consolidate, a referendum will be held if either of the following happens:

  1. At the time of adopting a resolution ordering the consolidation, the school board of any affected school district directs the holding of a referendum.
  2. A petition requesting a referendum is filed.

Petition - If a petition is filed it must be signed by at least ten (10) percent of the electors who reside in any affected school district and filed with the clerk of the school district that has the highest equalized valuation of the affected school districts. See s.115.01(13), Wis. Stats., for information about how to determine the number of signatures needed.

  • If the resolution ordering consolidation is adopted in July the petition must be filed before the 2nd Tuesday of September.
  • If the resolution ordering consolidation is adopted in December the petition must be filed before the 2nd Tuesday of February.
  • If the resolution ordering consolidation is adopted in May the petition must be filed before the 2nd Tuesday of July.

Click here to view or print a model referendum petition form.

Referendum Date

  • If the resolution ordering consolidation is adopted in July and a referendum is required as directed by an affected school board or by petition the referendum shall be held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
  • If the resolution ordering consolidation is adopted in December and a referendum is required as directed by an affected school board or by petition the referendum shall be held on the first Tuesday in April.
  • If the resolution ordering consolidation is adopted in May and a referendum is required as directed by an affected school board or by petition the referendum shall be held on the second Tuesday in September.

REFERENDUM Results - Wis. Stats. 117.08(4)

  • For a consolidation to occur the referendum must pass in each affected school district.
  • The results of the referendum vote are binding.
  • If the consolidation is approved, the school districts are consolidated the first or second following July 1, depending on which timeline was used.
  • At the time of canvassing the returns the school boards of the affected school districts shall make and file an order of school district reorganization under s.117.17 (2).

Go to CONSOLIDATION INCENTIVES AND ISSUES for information on state aid, shared costs, valuation, and revenue limits related to consolidated districts.

SCHOOL BOARDS IN NEW DISTRICTS

S. 117.22, Wis. Stats., states if school districts are consolidated under s. 117.08 or s. 117.09, the school boards of the consolidating school districts shall make up the joint interim school board of the new school district.

If a referendum is required and consolidation is approved by all affected districts the joint interim school board begins its duties on the 31st day following the date the order of reorganization is filed.

If no referendum is required, the interim board begins its duties:

  • on the 2nd Tuesday of September following a resolution to consolidate adopted in July;
  • on the 2nd Tuesday of February following a resolution to consolidate adopted in December;
  • on the 2nd Tuesday of July following a resolution to consolidate adopted in May.

The joint interim board shall have all of the powers and duties of a school board elected for the school district and perform those duties until a school board is elected under s. 117.22(2), Wis. Stats. Any action of the joint interim school board requires an affirmative vote of a majority of a quorum of the joint interim board.

ASSETS, LIABILITIES, EMPLOYEES

S. 117.25(1), Wis. Stats., states that on the effective consolidation date of two or more districts the following apply:

  • The school districts that were consolidated cease to exist.
  • Title to all property and the assets of the school districts become claims, obligations and contracts of the new consolidated district.
  • Claims, obligations and contracts of the school districts become vested in the new consolidated school district.
  • Employees of the school districts become employees of the new consolidated district.
  • The new consolidated district assumes the rights and obligations of the consolidating districts under the provisions of any collective bargaining agreement that applies to these employees.
  • The collective bargaining agreement remains in effect until the expiration date of the agreement or until a new collective bargaining agreement between the school district and representatives of these employees is effective, whichever occurs first.

A written agreement between two (2) or more school districts considering consolidation to continue to operate a program or facility at a specific location for a specified period after consolidation {not to exceed five (5) years} shall be binding on the new joint interim school board or elected school board.

APPEAL TO CIRCUIT COURT
Wis. Stats. 117.14

Any person aggrieved by the denial of the consolidation by the school boards under s. 117.08(2) may appeal the denial to a circuit court. To begin the appeal, the aggrieved person must serve written notice, specifically stating the grounds for the appeal, upon the Secretary of the School District Boundary Appeal Board and file the notice with the clerk of circuit court of any county in which any territory of any affected school district is located. The appeal must be initiated within thirty (30) days after copies of the school boards' denials are filed with the Secretary of the School District Boundary Appeal Board.

WHAT THE STATUTES SAY WITH REGARD TO NOTIFICATION

  • The school district clerk of each school board adopting a resolution to consider consolidation must send a certified copy of the resolution to the school boards of each of the other affected school districts and to the Secretary of the School District Boundary Appeal Board (SDBAB). {Wis. Stats. 117.08(1)}
  • The school district clerk of a district adopting a resolution to either order or deny a consolidation must, within 5 days after the adoption of the resolution, send a certified copy of the resolution to the school boards of the other affected districts and to the Secretary of the SDBAB. {Wis. Stats. 117.08(2)}
  • If a referendum is directed or a petition requesting a referendum is filed, the school district clerk of the school board adopting the resolution or the school district clerk receiving the petition shall immediately notify the school boards of the other affected school districts, the Secretary of the SDBAB, and the clerk of each city, village or town, any part of which is contained within an affected school district. {Wis. Stats. 117.08(3)}
  • At the time of canvassing the returns, the school boards of the affected school districts shall make and file an order of school district reorganization with the Secretary of the SDBAB. {Wis. Stats. 117.08(4)}

Click on the link to locate samples of orders and resolutions for school district reorganization. It is recommended that school boards fill out duplicate originals, keeping one and sending one as notification to the Secretary of the SDBAB. If you send the Secretary of the SDBAB a photocopy of the original, a Certificate of True Copy is needed.

 

For questions about this information, contact Janice Zmrazek (608) 266-2803