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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Prescott School Board approves putting referendum on February ballot

The Prescott School Board unanimously approved putting a referendum to voters in the Prescott School District at a special meeting of the board held Wednesday evening at the Prescott High School Library.

The District will ask voters to approve exceeding the state-imposed levy cap of $1,870,000 for a four-year period. This moves is basically a renewal of a similar levy cap referendum the district received four years ago. The referendum will go on the Feb. 16 election ballot.

The reason for the referendum is for the county to be handle annual increases in expenditures for busing, utlilities, health care and salaries at the rate of inflation at 2 percent while only receiving a one percent increase in state aides, if that, over the next four-years. Failure to pass the referendum could result in personnel and program cuts to balance the budget for the 2016-17 school year.

"We don't want to get into a vicious cycle where we make cuts and lose people and programs and lose students  and families which makes us lose more in state aides and requires more cuts to make up the difference," board member Josias Franco said.

There was no outright opposition to the proposal but plenty of skepticism and and requests by citizens attending the special meeting for more and accurate information on both budget numbers and whether the district is meeting its goals for math, reading, science and ACT scores both in comparison statewide and with its Pierce County neighbors.

"It seems to me we're spending a lot of money to be less than average and that affects whether persons move into the district or not," citizen Stewart Henning of Clifton Township said.

You can read more about the referendum in next week's Prescott Journal on newsstands next Wednesday, Dec. 9  

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