(Posted March 29, 2017)
By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer
Madison-Plains Local School District, facing a deficit, has taken the first steps toward placing an operating levy on the Aug. 8 special election ballot.
On March 27, the school board voted 4-0 to declare a necessity to levy a tax designed to raise $2,050,000 a year for five years. School board member Mark Mason was absent.
The declaration goes to the Madison County Auditor. The next step is to notify the Board of Elections before May 10. The board plans to pass the necessary resolution at its regular April meeting.
Madison-Plains Treasurer Todd Mus-tain said a 5.89-mill emergency operating levy would raise the funds needed to prevent the district from going into the red.
If approved in August, the levy would be placed on the 2017 tax list and duplicate for first collection in 2018. Half the amount would be collected in 2018 and the full amount of $2,050,000 in each of the years 2019 through 2022.
Mustain’s figures have consistently shown the district would be in the red in 2018.
“You can’t start school if you know you’ll have a deficit during that year,” Dettwiller said.
Approval of a 5.89-mill levy would mean the owner of a home valued at $100,000 would pay an extra $206 in taxes per year.
Several parents have already expressed approval of the district going to the ballot. Many who spoke up when the board was considering two-tier busing urged the board to consider a levy rather than go to two-tier busing. However, the board approved the new busing plan in anticipation of receiving additional state funds.
What school districts will receive in state funds is yet to be seen as legislators are still working on the state budget that needs to be approved by June 30.
Madison-Plains officials are counting on approval of the emergency levy in August since a permanent improvement levy will be up for renewal in November.
The school board considered three options before choosing to request an emergency levy. The other options were an income tax and replacement of a current operating levy. An income tax was practically out of the question since voters soundly rejected a similar proposal in 2005, Dettwiller said.