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Ellsworth referendum narrowly passes

Ellsworth School District constituents in 16 precincts across southern Pierce County narrowly voted to approve a $1.3 million override for the operating levy Tuesday.

The affirmative vote gives district officials authority to raise $1.3 million per year for each of the next three school years.

The District reports the unofficial vote tally of 1,559 "yes" to 1,485 "no".

See the attached document for tally by precinct.

In the River Falls School District, a $39 million referendum was defeated by a relatively close margin with 2,805 voting no and 2,624 voting yes. The referendum passed in the city of River Falls 1,588-1,378, but was defeated decisively in all surrounding towns -- Clifton, Kinnickinnick, Martell, Pleasant Valley, River Falls and Troy.

Referendums for school initiatives appeared on many ballots across the state Tuesday. The three largest -- Racine, River Falls and Johnson Creek -- were all defeated.

In Racine, only 38 percent of voters said yes to spending $83 million to replace five elementary schools and renovate five others.

Other proposals to equip the new buildings, replace lost stimulus money, and build up reserves were defeated by similar margins.

In Johnson Creek, voters said no to building a new elementary, middle school, and high school facility for $29 million. Racine's funding requests totaled $128.5 million. Superintendent Jim Shaw said he's disappointed they weren't approved, after officials spent two years putting together a plan they thought was acceptable. But Shaw also said it's clear that it's not a good time to ask voters for extra money.

Voters in Poynette said yes to $1.3 million dollars in various building improvements. The Spencer and Wisconsin Heights districts were among those getting approval to exceed their state-mandated revenue limits.