School sports on the line in Brodhead - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

School sports on the line in Brodhead

BRODHEAD (WKOW) -- School leaders say major cuts, in and out of the classroom, will have to be made if taxpayers reject Tuesday's $3.59 million operating referendum.

The list of possible cuts includes as many as eight teachers, a couple of course offerings, and all extracurricular activities, sports too.

In a small community like Brodhead (population 3,165), high school sports are a big deal.

"I think a bunch of us are worried," says Amanda Pickel.

The Brodhead freshman plays volleyball, basketball, and softball and is also part of the high school band.

Next year, however, those opportunities may not exist for students like Amanda.

"I would definitely miss it," she says.

The school district budgets $200,000 each year for extracurricular activities

Superintendent Chuck Deery says that's the same amount the district has cut from its budget each of the last six years.

"Athletics has never been put on this list," says Deery. "This year, that's how dire the situation has got."

Deery says state-imposed revenue caps limit the district's income, while the costs of education continue to rise.

"We're not happy to being going to referendum and asking for more money," Deery says. But, yet, we also have the obligation to provide as good as programs we can to our kids."

They say timing is everything. Some Brodhead voters are questioning the timing of the board's decision to give district administrators a two-percent pay raise.

"I'm sure the board is wondering if they did the right thing and some of the administrators, as well," adds Deery. 

That raise was approved last April. Deery says the board gave the green light to reward and retain school leaders.

"In some community members' eyes it will hurt us quite a bit," he says.

But, in the end, it's the students Deery says will be hurting, if the referendum is shot down.

"There's just not going to be anything to do," says Amanda.

Deery says the board is not using this as a so-called scare tactic. He says members are committed to doing what it takes to make ends meet, even if that means cutting extracurricular activities.

If voters reject the tax increase, several students have already said they want to open-enroll to neighboring districts. Deery says that will make Brodhead's financial matters even worse.

The average home in the Brodhead School District is said to cost around $100,000. Using that figure school leaders say the referendum will increase property taxes $40 the first year; $104 the second year; $20 the third year; and $64 the final year.

Stay with 27 News and for continuing coverage on the Brodhead school referendum.

Online reporting by Brock Bergey

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