Voters in Hayfield agree to increase levy
HAYFIELD — Voters in the Hayfield school district approved a $900 per pupil levy override on Tuesday, putting $285,000 more into the district's annual budget for the next five years.
Superintendent Ron Evjen reported that 831 people voted, with 485 (58 percent) voting yes, and 346 (42 percent) voting no.
The levy will replace an existing $600-per-pupil levy and represents a $138 property tax increase on a $150,000 house.
In August, school board members decided to ask for the referendum when faced with falling enrollment and less-than-stable state funding. Like school districts across the state, Hayfield has had to borrow money to meet expenses because it's gotten less state funding than expected.
Since the 2002-2003 school year, the district has lost 155 students, according to enrollment figures. The decline was attributed to open enrollment (students’ ability to attend school elsewhere even if they live in the district), students going on to post secondary education early, and home schooling.
Evjen said that "we are thrilled with the results, and our kids were the big winners tonight."
The district will be able to maintain its current student-staff ratios and a healthy general fund balance. During the 2001-2002 school year, the district was being considered in statutory operating debt by the state, but the district submitted a plan and pulled out of that position in two years, Evjen said.