Princeton City Schools: Lean 6.99-Mill Levy Planned For August 6th Ballot
Tricia Roddy, Director of Communications
PRINCETON CITY SCHOOLS: LEAN 6.99-MILL LEVY PLANNED FOR AUGUST 6 BALLOT
Last levy stretched to last five years longer than projected
The Princeton City Schools Board of Education took the first of two necessary votes on April 18, 2019, to place a 6.99-mill operating levy on the August 6, 2019 ballot. This request comes after the district prolonged the preceding levy to last five years longer than expected. Passage of the upcoming operating levy will allow the district to maintain the well-rounded, quality academic programming for students that the community has come to expect as well as eliminate the need to make dramatic, district-wide cuts to programs and services, according to Mary Cleveland, board president.
After gathering community input, the 6.99 millage is the lowest option the school board considered for voter approval. This lean levy request comes with the commitment of continued efficiencies and savings in the district’s budget.
“With levy passage, we can protect and preserve the quality of education, programs, and services that we value in Princeton,” said Tom Burton, district superintendent. “Our district continues to show excellent fiscal stewardship and is a tremendous value. We stretched the previous levy to last five years longer than promised with reduced support from the state. We continue to manage our finances in a conservative manner and look for ways to be more efficient every day.”
Prior to the loss of some critical business taxes, the district was seldom on the ballot for operating funds. In fact, in 2011, the district faced its first operating levy in 13 years. When the state drastically reduced the business tax for the district, the effect on Princeton was immediate and long-lasting.
“Even with the passage of the August levy, we will still have one of the lowest tax rates in the county. Without the passage of this levy, we jeopardize the financial stability of our schools and place our district at a financial cliff with millions in cuts and reductions that would have to be made in order to balance the budget,” said Burton. “We are in the business of educating students; it is important to have our financial plans in order and good standing so we can start the school year strong, concentrating on the matters of providing a quality education that prepares and empowers each student for college, career and life success.”
Passage of the August 6 levy would allow the district to continue to direct important funding to the classroom, and the district will keep looking for ways to be as efficient as possible, said Burton. “Spending priorities and dollars allocated to the classroom will continue to be aligned to the instructional goals of the district.”
The 6.99-mill operating levy will cost $244.65 annually per $100,000 home market value. If passed, collection will begin in 2020. This operating levy will fund the day-to-day operations of the district, such as staffing, utilities, and supplies. None of the funds from this levy will be used for the construction of new facilities.
“Our new buildings have numerous up-to-date safety features and are excellent examples of 21st century educational facilities that are incredible places to teach and learn, thanks to our community who provided its support,” continued Burton. “Now we need to focus our attention on ensuring that the programming and opportunities we offer continue to align with our goals of fostering innovative teaching and learning practices and instilling a passion for life-long learning in all students.”
The Princeton Board of Education is expected to vote on the second and final vote required to place the issue on the ballot on April 29, 2019. For more information about Princeton City Schools, please visit https://www.princetonschools.net/.