Middleton trustees will ask voters a second time to approve $1.5 million supplemental levy for schools
The Middleton School District Board of Trustees, after a lengthy discussion, voted 4-1 March 18, to ask patrons a second time to approve a $1.5 million supplemental levy for the next two years.
Middleton’s levy request will be on the May 19 primary ballot and will require a simple majority for passage. The March 10 levy failed, which means the current $1.3 million supplemental levy will expire if it is not renewed.
Middleton trustees told Superintendent Sherawn Reberry that district staff needs to prepare two budgets: one if the levy passes and one if the levy fails. Those budgets would be ready by early May at the latest.
The intent, trustees said, is for the community to better understand the school district’s needs and what it will mean to education programming and students if cuts are made because the supplemental funds are not available.
A budget committee will be appointed. Trustees Derek Moore and Briggs Miller will serve on the committee, along with district staff, including Business Manager and Treasurer Cheryl Sanderson. A few community members and parents will be asked to serve as well.
Reberry told trustees Wednesday that she already planned to make some cuts, now that she has been able to learn more about Middleton School District’s operations, since starting in August. Those cuts would have happened even if the supplemental levy had passed because the district has been overspending the past three of four years.
Those planned reductions include some restructuring at the administrative level, child nutrition services and transportation routes.
Without the levy, Reberry said the district will also consider some or all of these options:
- Freeze pay;
- Reduce staff through attrition;
- Explore outsourcing some services;
- Consider a 4-day school week;
- Eliminate some classified positions;
- Eliminate transportation services that are not reimbursed;
- Move to a “pay-to-play” system where students would help pay for extra-curricular activities, since those programs are not supported with state funds;
- Delay science curriculum adoption, opting only for a pilot program, even though the state has adopted new science standards
Trustee Marianne Blackwell voted no, stating the district must rebuild trust.
Discussion also focused on creating a better awareness campaign and providing more details to voters about the needs for the district and what it would mean if the current supplemental levy expires.
Reberry said some parents have offered to organize a “yes campaign.”
Information regarding the March 10 levy is posted on the District’s web at msd134.org. That page will be updated as more detailed information is gathered in April and May before the election.