Answers to Frequently Asked Referendum Questions
The district’s current debt payments will be paid in full in 2020. We can address current capital needs now and structure debt payments to begin when existing debt is paid. The State’s funding formula for public schools has not kept up with inflation in recent years. As costs to operate schools increases, the amount of funding our school district is able to generate between state aid and property taxes has decreased more than $1,000,000 in the last 7 years. Reductions have been made in several areas of the budget—there simply are no longer reductions available which do not significantly change how the district currently operates.
Why 5 Years?
There are capital needs that must be addressed immediately and in the near future to avoid more costly repairs/replacements. Capital projects would be addressed and completed in approximately 3 years. We are asking for a 5 year non-recurring referendum to exceed revenue limits to maintain the current level of funding for educational opportunities for I-S students.
Why Do These Needs Exist?
Although regular maintenance has been done within the school buildings, it’s time for some renovations and repairs, including roofs, parking lots, flooring and lighting at the Elementary School.
Is the proposed referendum a result of deferred maintenance?
No, the district has done a good job of maintaining the schools. Some components have been maintained beyond their expected useful life and it’s time to replace them (boilers, water heater, unit ventilators). Roofing systems, parking lots, flooring and Computer Lab A/C units have been maintained and repaired, but are coming to the end of their projected useful lives. Many of the items that will be updated/replaced will create energy efficiencies and will provide savings in utility costs.
School District Fiscal Actions since 2009-10
* Certified staff full-time equivalent (FTE) positions has decreased by 11.9%.
* Reduced 1 Section at Grades 4-6;
* Reduced 2 Middle School Sections (Math and Social Studies);
* Support staff positions limited to part-time positions to avoid benefit eligibility resulting in decreased staffing costs.
* The Board has reduced more than 7 certified staff positions since 2009-10.
* Technology budget reductions
* Maintenance budget reductions
* Energy Efficient upgrades resulting in lower utility costs
* Zero-based budgeting for classrooms and academic departments
How much will it cost?/ What is the current mill rate and what will it be if the referendum passes?
The current mill rate for the 2015-16 school year is $10.34/$1,000 of property value; meaning a home valued at $100,000 would pay $1,034 in school taxes. In designing the "Step-Up" Non-recurring referendum, The Board of Education wanted the mill rate to remain the same over the duration of the five years of the referendum. If both questions are approved, the mill rate is projected to increase to:
2016-17 $11.20/$100,000 of property value ($86.44 over 2015-16) ($7.20/ month)
2017-18 $11.23/$100,000 of property value ($89.44 over 2015-16) ($7.45/ month)
2018-19 $11.20/$100,000 of property value ($86.44 over 2015-16) ($7.20/ month)
2019-20 $11.22/$100,000 of property value ($88.44 over 2015-16) ($7.37/ month)
2020-21 $11.23/$100,000 of property value ($89.44 over 2015-16) ($7.45/ month)
* Total Impact over 5 years: $440.20
When would the proposed projects be complete?
If approved, projects would begin in Spring 2017 and would continue over the next 3-4 years.
What will happen if the referendum doesn’t pass?
Simply stated, the way our school operates and the educational opportunities we have come to expect for our children will change. The capital needs to be addressed with this referendum won’t go away if the referendum doesn’t pass and will likely get worse over time. Currently, interest rates for new debt and construction costs are low. Delaying the projects will make it tougher and more expensive to address in the future as costs will likely be higher and needs willl become more extensive. The Board of Education will determine next steps if the referendum questions do not pass.
Will local contractors be used?
All jobs will be put out to bid so the district can get the best value for the money spent. Bids will be awarded on cost, qualifications, experience, references and other factors the board may wish to consider.
Why should I be concerned about these projects?
Research shows that public school quality is one of the most important determinants of home value. Schools directly affect a community’s vitality and home resale values. The more attractive a community, the more likely people are to live, work and shop there. Strong schools mean strong communities!
DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT THE REFERENDUM?
WOULD YOU LIKE US TO RETURN A CALL OR SET A TIME TO VISIT IN PERSON OR AS A SMALL GROUP?
PLEASE CONTACT US:
David Dyb District Administrator email@example.com 715-445-2411 ext. 215
Sarah Thiel Business Manager firstname.lastname@example.org 715-445-2411 ext. 214