Almond-Bancroft Operational Referendum
What questions do you have?
By Superintendent Rich Hanson
Over the last several weeks we have been sharing information about our upcoming referendum vote on Tuesday, April 3. During this time, as we have talked with people there have been some questions that have come up a number of times. Below are those questions and the answers.
Why do we need a referendum for more money?
We have done our best to cut the budget and delay improvements so we don’t have big tax increases. We have dipped into our fund balance – a savings account of sorts used to pay bills while we wait for tax revenue – in order to provide education for our students.
We have put some needed upgrades on the back burner. Among them:
- Delayed revising curriculum and purchasing instructional resources and equipment
- Delayed replacing outdated and worn maintenance equipment
- Fallen behind significantly among area school districts in teacher compensation
- Delayed training to improve instructional practices
The administration and School Board have worked hard to hold the line on school taxes. But we have reached the point when we must decide if we are going to invest in the future of our community, families and children, or if we are going to only provide the bare minimum to get by.
We can no longer offer all of our school programs and small class sizes without additional help from the community. Passing the referendum will allow this district to move forward without raising the school tax rate.
How will the $525,000 be used?
The $525,000 annual recurring operational funds sought will address four major needs in the Almond-Bancroft School District while calling for no increase in the school tax rate.
Those areas of need are:
- Curriculum and instruction
- Teacher retainment and recruitment and
- Facility and equipment maintenance.
Additionally, we need to address rebuilding our Fund Balance that has gotten dangerously low.
What is the Fund Balance?
The Fund Balance is reserve money used to pay expenses so we don’t have to borrow funds while waiting for tax revenue and state and federal aid. The Fund Balance is currently at only about $673,000. For a school district our size, it should be closer to $1,500,000
How can we raise $525,000 without a tax increase?
This spring we are retiring our annual $451,000 debt payment for our 1998 building addition. The $75,000 annual five-year technology referendum that was passed in 2013 will also expire at the end of this school year. That is a total of $526,000 that will be eliminated from our tax levy.
This means passage of the proposed $525,000 annual recurring referendum will result in a 0% school tax rate increase. Funds that were being used to pay off debt can now be used to address the needs of our students, families, community and staff.
What happens if the referendum doesn't pass?
If the referendum doesn't pass, the school board will have to look at staff and program reductions, reducing services, increasing class sizes and not updating our building and equipment.
We encourage all eligible voters to vote on Tuesday, April 3. If you would like more information, go to our website or Facebook page.