Voters say ‘no’ to Madison-Plains operating levy


(Posted Aug. 11, 2017)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

In the Aug. 8 special election, voters rejected Madison-Plains Local Schools’ request for an additional tax levy to stave off an operating deficit.

If passed, the 5.953-mill levy would have generated $2 million a year for the next five years, allowing the district to continue its current academic programming and prevent cuts. The cost to the owner of a home valued at $100,000 would have been an additional $200 per year.

The unofficial vote tally as released by the Madison County Board of Elections was 431-705. Voter turnout was 21 percent.

Rejection of an operating levy on the first attempt is nothing new for Madison-Plains, said Superintendent Tim Dettwiller. Although district voters approved an operating levy in 2005, the last time such a levy was approved on the first try was 1957, he said.

Had the levy passed, the added money would have been collected in 2018. Currently, the district has enough funds to operate for the 2017-18 academic year, but faces a deficit starting in October 2018.

School leaders have repeatedly warned that the district would not be able to operate should there be a deficit during the academic year.

School board members will discuss the next steps at their regular meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 15 in the elementary building.

Staffing and program cuts are two possibilities on the table, Dettwiller said.

Meanwhile, the district is going ahead with a request for renewal of a permanent improvements levy on the Nov. 7 general election ballot. Funds generated by permanent improvement levies cannot be used for operating expenses.

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