Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Additional Referendum Information

At last evening’s board meeting (Monday, November 16), the board of education discussed the parameters for the next levy override referendum question which will be posed to voters at the April 2016 election to replace the current $790,000.00 referendum which expires at the end of next school year (2016-2017).  After some discussion, it was decided that the district will ask voters to approve a levy override referendum to exceed the revenue caps for five (5) years beginning in 2017-2018 for $900,000.00 per year.  This will be made “official” at our January regular meeting when the board adopts a resolution to poise the question to voters.  The rationale for asking voters for additional dollars in the new referendum has everything to do with the past three consecutive budgets either reducing the revenue caps or holding them flat.  In short, the State has not provided school districts with any additional revenue limit authority (and in one budget substantially reduced the caps) to provide for additional funding to maintain programs and services and continue various maintenance and renovation plans.  This in conjunction with the fact that expenses have increased an average of 1.65% [an average of the Federal “cost of living” and the Consumer Price Index (CPI)] each of the past nine years indicates that the district will need to seek $900,000.00 per year to continue to operate as we have in the past while also addressing maintenance and renovations planned for the future.

A likely question is “how will this impact my taxes?”  Thankfully, the same factors mentioned above as rationale for increasing the referendum to $900,000.00 are also reasons as to why the overall tax impact of the additional $110,000.00 per year are predicted to actually decrease slightly and then slowly rise back to current levels over time as is illustrated in the table below:

Fiscal Year
Tax Levy Amount
  Mill Rate

An additional question that voters no doubt have is “what exactly do you plan on doing with this money?”  As was alluded to in prior communications, a portion of the levy override dollars allows us to maintain current programs and staffing levels while the largest portion allows us to address some significant needs in our facilities.  If the new referendum passes, the district intends to address the Band, Choir, Agriculture Education, Technology Education, Art, and various other rooms in the South wing of the High School adjacent to the commons.  These areas have remained largely untouched since the mid 1950’s.  In addition, we will address the Technology Education area at the Riverview Middle School.  There is also a need to begin to replace/ repair asphalt in parking lots and driveways over time and to update HVAC systems district wide; in addition, there are many additional projects that are planned at Almena Elementary and Ridgeland-Dallas Elementary including bathroom updates, parking areas, playground updates, etc.

I intend to provide additional statistics in the future as well as conduct community listening sessions in the coming months; these will be publicized in local media as well as in our buildings.  I also invite anyone interested to give me a call or stop in to the district office to ask questions or for a tour of our facilities.

As always, please feel free to contact me at any time.

Craig G. Broeren
District Administrator
715-537-5612 ext. 402