2017 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations
Chapter 117. School district reorganization.
117.105 Creation of a school district.

Universal Citation: WI Stat § 117.105 (2017)

117.105 Creation of a school district.

(1)Initiation of procedures. Procedures to create a school district from the territory of one or more existing school districts may be initiated by any of the following methods:

(a) Before July 1 of any year, a written petition requesting the creation of a school district may be filed with the clerk of the school district that has the highest equalized valuation of the affected school districts. The petition shall be signed by at least 20 percent of the total number of electors residing in the affected school districts and by at least 5 percent of the number of electors residing in each affected school district. The school district clerk with whom the petition is filed shall immediately send a certified notice of the petition to the school board of each affected school district and to the secretary of the board. The petition shall include the approximate boundaries of the proposed school district.

(b) Before July 1 of any year, the school board of each school district from which territory will be detached to create the proposed school district may adopt a resolution stating that the school board will consider the creation of the school district. The resolution shall include the approximate boundaries of the proposed school district. The school district clerk of each school board adopting a resolution under this paragraph shall 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 board.

(1m)Hearing; boundaries; assets and liabilities.

(a) Upon receipt of a petition or notice under sub. (1) (a), or upon the adoption of a resolution and the receipt of copies of resolutions adopted by the school board of each of the other affected school districts under sub. (1) (b), the school board shall hold a public hearing on the proposed reorganization.

(b) Before the October 15 following the receipt of a petition or notice under sub. (1) (a) or the adoption of resolutions under sub. (1) (b), the school boards of the affected school districts may, by the adoption of resolutions by the school boards of a majority of the affected school districts, agree on the precise boundaries of the proposed school district and the apportionment of the assets and liabilities between the affected school districts and the proposed school district according to the criteria under s. 66.0235 (2c). The school boards may establish an alternative method to govern the assignment of assets and liabilities as provided in s. 66.0235 (2c) (b). In determining the precise boundaries, the school boards may not detach territory from any additional school districts. The clerk of the school district that has the highest equalized valuation of the affected school districts shall notify the board of their agreement or their failure to reach agreement.

(c) If the school boards of a majority of the affected school districts fail to agree on the precise boundaries or on the apportionment of assets and liabilities by October 15 under par. (b), the board shall issue an order doing so by the following February 15. In determining the precise boundaries of the proposed school district, the board may not detach territory from any additional school districts.

(2)School board action. Before the January 15 following the determination of the precise boundaries of the proposed school district and the apportionment of assets and liabilities under sub. (1m) (b), or before the April 15 following an order issued by the board under sub. (1m) (c), the school board of each affected school district shall adopt a resolution ordering or denying the creation of the school district. The resolution shall state the school board's rationale for ordering or denying the reorganization and include an evaluation of each of the factors specified in s. 117.15. Failure of a school board to adopt a resolution either ordering or denying the creation of the school district before the applicable date required under this subsection constitutes a denial of the creation of the school district by that school board. The school district clerk of each school board adopting a resolution under this subsection, either ordering or denying the reorganization, shall, within 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 in s. 117.17 (2).

(2m)Board review.

(a) The board shall review a proposed reorganization under this section if any of the following occurs:

1. The school board of each affected school district issues an order under sub. (2) granting the proposed reorganization, and a petition for board review of the proposed reorganization, signed by at least 10 percent of the number of electors residing in the territory of the affected school districts that is not within the proposed school district, is filed with the secretary of the board. The petition shall be filed by February 15 following the school board action under sub. (2), or by May 15 following the school board action under sub. (2) if the board issued an order under sub. (1m) (c).

2. The school board of any of the affected school districts issues an order under sub. (2) denying the proposed reorganization, and a petition for board review of the proposed reorganization, signed by at least 10 percent of the number of electors residing in each affected school district, is filed with the secretary of the board. The petition shall be filed by February 15 following the school board action under sub. (2), or by May 15 following the school board action under sub. (2) if the board issued an order under sub. (1m) (c).

(b) Upon receipt of a petition for review under par. (a), the secretary of the board shall immediately notify the school board of each affected school district and the board shall hold a public hearing on the proposed reorganization. After the hearing and after consulting with the school boards of the affected school districts, but before May 15, the board may modify the boundaries of the proposed school district and the apportionment of assets and liabilities between the affected school districts and the proposed school district unless the board determined the boundaries and apportionment under sub. (1m) (c). The board may not modify the boundaries by detaching territory from any additional school districts.

(bm) If the board modifies the boundaries or the apportionment of assets and liabilities under par. (b), it shall immediately notify the school board of each affected school district, and before June 15, the school board of each affected school district may proceed under sub. (2) to issue an order either granting or denying the proposed reorganization, as modified by the board. The board shall then proceed under par. (c) without the filing of a new petition under par. (a) but may not issue an order under par. (c) before June 21.

(c) By August 1 following receipt of a petition for review under par. (a), the board shall issue an order either granting or denying the proposed reorganization. The order shall state the board's rationale and include an evaluation of each of the factors specified in s. 117.15. The board may overturn the decision of the school boards only if it finds that the school boards' conclusions regarding the factors specified in s. 117.15 are not supported by the facts or that the school boards did not properly apply these factors.

(3)Referendum.

(a) A referendum shall be held under par. (b) if any of the following occurs:

1. The school boards of all of the affected school districts grant the proposed reorganization and there is no petition filed for board review.

2. The school boards of all of the affected school districts grant the proposed reorganization, a petition for board review is filed and the board grants the proposed reorganization.

3. The school board of one or more of the affected school districts denies the proposed reorganization, a petition for board review is filed and the board grants the proposed reorganization.

(b) If a referendum is required under par. (a), the board shall immediately notify the school boards of each of the affected school districts and the clerk of each city, village or town, any part of which is contained within an affected school district. The referendum shall be held in the territory of the school district proposed to be created by the reorganization.

(c) In addition to the referendum under par. (a) 3., a referendum shall be held under par. (d) if par. (a) 3. applies and a petition conforming to the requirements of s. 8.40 requesting a referendum, signed by at least 20 percent of the number of electors residing in the territory of the affected school districts, is filed with the clerk of the affected school district with the largest equalized valuation before the 2nd Tuesday of September following issuance of the board's order under sub. (2m) (c).

(d) If a referendum is required under par. (c), the school district clerk receiving the petition shall immediately notify the school boards of each of the affected school districts and the clerk of each city, village or town, any part of which is contained within an affected school district. The referendum shall be held in the territory of the affected school districts as provided under s. 117.20.

(4)Order of reorganization if approved at referendum. If a majority of the votes cast in the referendum held under sub. (3) (b) in the territory of the school district proposed to be created by the reorganization is in favor of the creation of the proposed school district, and a majority of the votes cast in the referendum held under sub. (3) (d) in the territory of the affected school districts is in favor of the creation of the proposed school district, 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). The reorganization shall take effect on the following July 1 unless the school board of the newly created school district adopts and files a resolution, as provided in s. 117.17 (2), stating that the reorganization shall take effect on the 2nd July 1 following the order of reorganization.

(4m)Procedures for creation of a school district based on an opportunity schools and partnership program; certain villages.

(a) In this subsection:

1. “Eligible unified school district” has the meaning given in s. 115.999 (2m) (a).

2. “Village board” means the village board of a village located in an eligible unified school district.

(b) If a village board adopts a resolution under s. 115.999 (2m) (c) affirming the village board's intent to create a new school district or a resolution to provide a referendum under s. 115.999 (2m) (d), the village board shall submit the resolution to the board.

(c)

1. Upon receipt of a resolution under par. (b), the board shall hold a public hearing on the proposed reorganization. After the hearing and after consulting with the school board of the eligible unified school district and the village boards of the villages located within the proposed school district, the board shall determine the apportionment of assets and liabilities between the eligible unified school district and the proposed school district according to the criteria under s. 66.0235 (2c).

2. By no later than 180 days after the village board receives notice under s. 115.28 (10o) (d), the board shall issue an order that includes the territory of the new school district, as described in the resolution adopted by the village board, and the apportionment of assets and liabilities as determined under subd. 1.

(d) A binding referendum on a proposed reorganization ordered by the board under par. (c) 2. shall be held in the territory of the school district proposed to be created by the reorganization.

(e)

1. If a majority of the votes cast in the referendum held under par. (d) is in favor of the creation of the proposed school district, no later than 60 days after the referendum is held, the village boards of the villages included in the proposed school district shall adopt a resolution to designate all of the following for the proposed school district:

a. The number of school board members under s. 120.01 or 120.41.

b. The terms of initial members of the school board under s. 120.02 (3) (a).

c. The method of election of school board members under s. 120.06 or 120.42.

2. A village that adopts a resolution under subd. 1. shall submit the resolution to the eligible unified school district.

3. If a majority of the votes cast in the referendum held under par. (d) is in favor of the creation of the proposed school district, after receiving a resolution under subd. 2., the school board of the eligible unified school district shall make and file an order of school district reorganization under s. 117.17 (2). In the order, the school board shall designate that the first election of school board members of the newly created school district shall occur at the regularly scheduled spring election immediately following the date on which the order is filed with the board. The reorganization shall take effect on the July 1 described in the resolution adopted by the village board under s. 115.999 (2m) (c).

(f) Subsections (1) to (4) and ss. 117.14 and 117.15 do not apply to a reorganization under this subsection.

(5)Applicability. This section does not apply to a reorganization that would result in the creation of a school district that has the same boundaries that an existing school district would have if territory were detached from one or more other school districts and attached to the existing school district under s. 117.12, 117.13 or 117.132 unless the existing school district operates only elementary grades.

(6)Limitation on further reorganization. No school district created by a reorganization under this section may consolidate with another school district under s. 117.08 or 117.09, or have all of its territory attached to another school district under s. 117.10, 117.11 or 117.132, within 10 years after the effective date of the reorganization under this section. This subsection does not apply if the school district was created by detaching territory from a single school district, and the consolidation under s. 117.08 or 117.09 or the attachment under s. 117.10, 117.11 or 117.132 will consolidate the school district with, or reattach its territory to, the school district from which its territory was detached by the reorganization which created the school district.

History: 1997 a. 286; 2001 a. 30; 2017 a. 59.

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