Madison-Plains leaders regroup after levy defeat

(Posted Aug. 16, 2017)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

A week after voters defeated an operating levy, finances dominated discussions at the Aug. 15 Madison-Plains school board meeting.

The board and district leaders are seeking feedback for what to do next, while preparing for a permanent improvement levy renewal on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Voters soundly rejected a 5.9-mill operating levy at a special election Aug. 8 that would have raised $2 million a year for the next five years.

“The district is disappointed,” said Superintendent Tim Dettwiller.

Former board member Ken Morlock suggested that when the next operating levy is up, the district tell the community that “if the levy fails, this is what goes.”

But before that happens, the district will be talking about the 2.5-mill permanent improvement levy up for renewal this fall. The levy generates funds for work on buildings and the purchase of buses, computers, and other equipment for students, Dettwiller explained.

Board member Mark Mason suggested asking the community for support.

“Maybe the community can come to the MPAC (Madison-Plains Advisory Council) meetings,” he said.

The next MPAC meeting is from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20 in the district meeting room at the elementary building. The group meets monthly.

Board President Kelly Cooley asked for assistance.

“We want all the feedback we can get,” she said. “We don’t have all the answers. There is more work to do.”

“We need to set a meeting to talk specifics,” Dettwiller said. “Up to now, I’ve been speaking in generics.”

The board will hold a special meeting the last week of August and the regular meeting will be held Sept. 19.

In other discussion, Dettwiller noted that new band uniforms are needed to replace the existing ones, which are 11 years old and in need of repair.

“It’s not unusual to see a mother sewing on the uniforms moments before the band takes the field at a football game,” he said.

The request was that the board pay 60 percent of the cost and the band boosters come up with 40 percent. A resolution calling for the board to spend $18,000 out of permanent improvement funds was tabled after Mason questioned the importance of the purchase at this time.

“They want more time to study the request,” Dettwiller said.

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