Here are school levy referendum facts

BY MATT SCHOEN

Superintendent, Delano Public Schools

Over the next several months I would like to take the opportunity to share with you facts and information about Delano Public Schools with respect to our programs, services, and funding situation. Today, I would like to begin by sharing some information regarding our funding.

In 2002, voters of the Delano Public School District approved a 10-year operating levy that brought much needed revenue to our district. This existing operating levy is expiring and funding will cease at the end of the 2012-13 school year. This expiring levy represents approximately $1.1 million of revenue in our school district budget. This 10-year-old levy amount will not meet the revenue needed to continue educational excellence in our district.

Last fall the school district asked our voters for an increase in the dollar amount per student to support educational programs in our schools. That levy failed, thus requiring the School Board to make spending cuts and increase fees that are effective for the 2012-13 school year. In the spring of 2012, our district tightened its belt and made approximately $750,000 in cuts and fee increases in order to remain fiscally responsible. Even with these additional cuts and increases the school district is still deficit spending approximately $300,000 of our reserves.

The Delano School Board recently passed a resolution for a referendum to renew and increase the operating levy. There will be two questions on the ballot in November related to this issue.

The first question will ask voters to renew the existing operating levy. Voters will be asked to renew the current levy at $426 per student, which will equal $1.1 million in needed revenue.

The second question will ask voters to approve an increase to the 10-year-old operating levy. This will help bring in additional revenue that is needed due to years of inadequate funding from the state. Voting yes to the second question will raise property taxes by approximately $12 per month for the average homeowner in Delano.

Voting yes to both questions will permit the school district not to make any additional cuts in the budget for the 2013-14 school year.

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