March 3, 2020

Contact: Senator Robert Cowles: (608) 266-0484

State Aid Restored to Freedom Schools Under New Law 

MADISON– Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) released the following joint statement after 2019 Senate Bill 437 was signed into law as 2019 Wisconsin Act 176. This legislation, which Senator Cowles authored with Representative Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna), restores full state aid to the Freedom School District: 

“When voters in Freedom turned down a referendum for a new building, they never knew that ripple effects would cause the school district to lose part of their state aid. For this low-spending district, the statutory hiccup had adverse impacts in classrooms from kindergarten to 12th grade. I’m happy to see yet another example of a district-driven effort signed into law, and it pleases me to know that Freedom schools will soon be operating at full volume. I look forward to continuing my strong relationship with schools in the 2nd Senate District.”

Under state statutes, the failure of an operating referendum causes districts to lose part of their state aid for three-years. In Freedom, a failed operating referendum was tied to the approval of a capital referendum for a new school. Typically, operating expense referendum stand alone, and aren’t tied to building expense (capital) referendum. Because of the unique circumstances of this failed referendum, the Legislature supported a decision to exempt Freedom from this statutory hurdle and restore the lost portion of state aid for the next two-years.