Perkins School District voters supported the renewal of the permanent improvement levy while defeating the request for new operating funds last night. The School Board and employees would like to thank the Perkins community for their continued support of the school’s permanent improvement levy. The renewal of this levy is expected to bring in $750,000 annually for building repairs, technology and the replacement of buses, vans, and other capital equipment. This levy is important to keep the aging facilities of the district from deteriorating further until a long-term solution can be implemented. The permanent improvement levy was first passed in November of 1988 and has been continuously supported by the residents of the community since that time.
On the other hand, defeat of the operating levy adds to the already strained financial operating budget of the district. In addition to the levy defeat, the district recently faced an unexpected significant reduction in district real estate taxes collected in 2013 ($400,000+) due to the recent reevaluation process conducted by the county auditor. These local issues are compounded by a state budget that varies between proposed no increase in state support for Perkins to a significant reduction in state support for our local school district. All of these changes have taken place after the Board of Education made the final decision for the May levy.
The result of the levy defeat and additional loss of revenue is that both Phase I and Phase II reductions will take place, effective June 30, 2013. Phase I reductions reduced over $12 million from the school district’s budget over the next five years. Phase II reductions cut another $480,000 for the 2013-14 school year. All of these reductions will now become permanent. (See the attached list for a full description of Phase I and II reductions)
Unfortunately, these reductions now appear to fall short of a balanced budget for next year due to the loss of local real estate taxes and projected lack of additional state support for the Perkins community. As a result, the Board of Education met this morning, May 8, 2013 and passed a resolution to place a 6.73 mil, 10-year emergency levy on the August 6, 2013 election.
The Board set two Special Meetings to consider further reductions in the event of an August levy failure. The Board will meet in executive session to discuss employment of personnel on Thursday, May 16thbeginning at 7:00 pm in the Administrative Service Center conference room. During this meeting the Board will examine all possible methods to reduce costs further in the operation of the school district. No Board action will be taken at this Special Meeting.
A second special Board meeting was established for Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 6:00 pm in high school room 805. During this meeting the Board intends on sharing the results of their discussion held on Thursday, May 16th. The Board will also adopt an updated 5-year forecast, announce a proposed Phase III list of reductions, listen to community feedback, and potentially take action on further reductions that evening. This meeting will be an open public meeting where community members are invited and encouraged to attend.
We are disappointed in the results of the May election, but are determined to provide the best quality education to the students of Perkins within the financial resources available to the district. All previous decisions and actions taken by the Board will be reviewed. All options are on the table to meet the needs of our community’s students moving forward.