Your vote counts: Emergency operating levy on ballot Aug. 8
Superintendent Tim Dettwiller shares his guest column published in the local media here.

School starts on Aug. 21 for students in grades 1-12, but we’re laser-focused on Aug. 8 right now.

That’s the day voters go to the polls to cast their ballots for the emergency operating levy the Board of Education is requesting. The 5.953 measure will generate roughly $2 million per year for the district’s General Fund.

If passed, the levy will maintaining current programming in the district. The cost to a $100,000 home will be $200 per year. The new revenue will fund school operations for 5 years.

The need for the money is not new. The district prepared in 2013 a 10-year financial plan that identified ways to reduce projected spending. As a result, the need for additional funding was extended by two full years, moving the deficit to 2019.

Collections after an August approval would begin in 2018 which allows for revenues to be received in time to avoid programming cuts for the 2018-19 school year. State law requires districts to approve staffing each spring for the following school year. If the levy is not approved, reductions will be identified.

The district — which has the lowest tax rate of all surrounding districts — has not increased tax dollars in 12 years. The last ballot issue asking for more operating money was approved in 2005.

Furthermore, a review of the data put together by the district shows that salaries for most of our administrators and teachers fall in the middle compared to surrounding districts. In fact, some are very near the bottom. I encourage you to take a look on our website to study the information further. It is available at: www.mplsd.org/election.aspx.

We have offset increases with attrition and cost-saving measures, but when inflation goes up and revenues stay flat, it is impossible to avoid deficit spending. We have been dipping into our general fund balance for several years.

An Aug. 8 approval will allow us to continue our current programming, moving us away from a deficit. No new teaching or administrative positions are planned within our General fund forecast. Without the new funds the district will eventually need to reduce programming and staffing.

We are seeing support for our school and this levy like never before. For example the Mt. Sterling Chamber of Commerce voted in June to endorse this levy.

A volunteer committee of more than 30 parents, staff and community members have spent their summer meeting, planning and sharing information with the public about the need for the levy. The group has a page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/formpschools/ for those seeking more information or who wish to get involved.

I am eager to answer your questions about the levy, as well. There is a link to the Superintendent’s Blog “Join the Conversation” on the homepage of our website mplsd.org or you can send me an email or call my office.

I personally want to thank the MP family for your many years of financial support. Many of you have paid for the operation of our school for decades to the benefit of our children and community. An involved community helps keep MP Strong.
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