LeRoy-Ostrander, Southland district residents say yes to levy
Voters in both the LeRoy-Ostrander and Southland school districts approved operating levies Tuesday.
Superintendent Jeff Sampson, who does double duty as superintendent for both school districts, was elated with the results.
"I am very excited for both districts," he said.
Southland voters say yes to levy
For the Southland school district in the Adams area, the levy passed with 684 yes votes and 304 no votes. The turnout for this year's election night was around the same as last year, according to Sampson.
It was a sigh of relief after a previous levy override failed last year. Southland asked taxpayers to consider canceling the operating levy of $387.44 and replacing it with a new one of $1,550 per-pupil.
With the proposed levy override, taxpayers will see a $262 tax increase on a $100,000 home or a $394 increase on a $150,000 home.
The school district had made budget cuts worth $471,000, which is around 8.8 percent of the district's total budget. This resulted in cuts being made last spring for this fiscal year, Sampson said. The reductions included coaches being unpaid or volunteering to take pay cuts, and the school's wrestling team was combined with teams from other area schools.
If the levy had not passed, the district would have had to cut another $500,000 to $600,000 from the district's budget. Currently, Southland has $1.1 million in the general fund and a spending deficit of $270,000. The general operating budget covers payroll, general facilities maintenance, bills, classroom supplies and transportation.
Although the levy was approved, Southland would have to wait until January 2017 for the increased revenue, and by then, the general fund balance would be around $500,000. The school district will also still have to face challenges with declining enrollment.
"We will see an increase in taxes and we are continuing our efforts to right size the district with declining enrollment in Southland," Sampson said.
LeRoy-Ostrander levy passes
In LeRoy-Ostrander, district voters overwhelmingly favored the levy override, 254-31.
The district proposed revoking the existing levy authority of $1,578.63 per student that was slated to end in fiscal year 2018, and replace it with the same levy of $1,578.63 per student extended to 2025.
Extending the current levy allows the district to maintain current programming and avoid budget cuts.