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Public School District Reorganization-Union High School and K-8 District Consolidation

(Wis. Stats. 117.09)


INITIATION OF PROCEDURES
Wis. Stats. 117.09(1)

The school board of a union high school district and the school board of any of the underlying K-8 districts may adopt resolutions stating that they will consider consolidating the union high school district and all of the underlying K-8 school districts. The school district clerk of each board adopting such a resolution under s. 117.09, Wis. Stats., shall send a certified copy of the resolution to the school boards of all the affected school districts and to the Secretary of the School District Boundary Appeal Board.

SCHOOL BOARD ACTION
Wis. Stats. 117.09(2)

In the first July beginning after the adoption of resolutions to consider consolidation, the school districts may adopt resolutions ordering consolidation to form a school district operating grades K-12. The consolidation must be approved by both of the following:

  1. The school board of the union high school district;
  2. The school boards of one or more of the elementary districts that have in their combined territory at least 55 percent of the equalized valuation of the union high school district.

If the school boards, just described, approve the consolidation and there is no directive or request for a referendum, as described below, the decision of the school boards is final and the union high school district and all K-8 school districts in the union high school district are consolidated, effective on the July 1 following the adoption of the resolutions ordering the consolidation.

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

REFERENDUM
Wis. Stats. 117.09(3)

If the school boards approve the consolidation, a referendum will be held if either of the following happens before the 2nd Tuesday of September:

  • A petition requesting a referendum, signed by at least ten (10) percent of the electors who reside in any affected school district, is filed with the clerk of the union high district;
  • The school board of any affected school district directs the holding of a referendum.

Click on the following link to view or print a referendum petition form. (Users must have a Portable Document Format (PDF) reader installed and configured on their web browser. The Acrobat Reader is free and available at Adobe's web site.)

The results of a referendum election on consolidation under s. 117.09(4), Wis. Stats., involving a union high school district and its underlying elementary districts are as follows:

  1. The results of the referendum vote are binding.
  2. The votes cast in each elementary school district would be counted for that district and also for the union high school district. There would be only one vote, but it would be used to calculate both totals.
  3. The referendum would have to pass in the union high school district and a majority of the underlying elementary districts.
  4. The consolidation referendum would be held on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November.
  5. If the consolidation is approved, then the union high school district and all K-8 school districts in the union high school district are consolidated as of the next July 1.

SCHOOL BOARD

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

The joint interim school board begins its duties:

  • If no referendum is required, on the 2nd Tuesday of September following the adoption to consolidate;
  • If a referendum is required, on the 31st day following the date the order of reorganization is filed.

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. 117.09(2) may appeal the order 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 must file the notice with the clerk of circuit court in 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' order 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. 117.09(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 School District Boundary Appeal Board (SDBAB). {Wis. Stats. 117.09(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. 117.09(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. 117.09(4)}

Click on the following 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 xerox copy of the original, a Certificate of True Copy is needed.

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

 

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