The Prescott School District held the second of two information sessions on the upcoming school referendum set for the Feb. 16 ballot in the Prescott High School library Monday evening, Jan. 25.
Prescott School Board Member Josias Franco along with Superintendent Dr. James Spicuzza gave the district’s presentation before the audience as to why they need to exceed the district’s levy caps again as the district has been able to do several times with voter approval since 1999. They explained the state’s funding formula and stated that the district faces a funding gap over the next four years between increased expenses at the rate of inflation, flat enrollment projections and little to no increases in state aides which are below the two-thirds rate they were intended to be at when the law was first passed in 1993.
“If we didn’t exceed levy caps we would still be at the same rate we were back in 1993 because this district was frugal and balanced budgets,” Dr. Spicuzza said. “We were never given any leeway and thus have had to ask voters to help us fund the operations of our schools at a rate which supports our academic programs, the arts and extra-curricular activities for a well-rounded education.”
They also stressed again that this referendum has nothing to do with the building of the new high school or auditorium which is being paid for by bonds after the construction of both buildings were approved by the voters in recent referendums. Funds from those bonds cannot be used to pay for school operations.
Franco thanked district voters at the start of the meeting for their past support of previous referendums.
“These non-recurring referendums to exceed levy caps for just operational expenses are becoming quite common place across the state but are necessary for districts to evaluate their needs to their expenses,” Franco said.
More on this story can be read in the latest edition of the Prescott Journal, on newsstands now