Bad timing: Lakota Schools are asking too much from voters

Posted By on February 18, 2010

It looks like the Lakota Board of Education has decided to place a new levy on May 4th’s primary ballot in our area – LINK – not a well timed request, in my opinion.

I’ve been mostly supportive and relatively pleased with the education my kids have received in our local public schools, but from my perspective it has come at a cost, since my property taxes are steep. My desire for ‘lower-taxes’ aside, the timing of a new school levy and property tax increases, with automatic increase again in 2012 and hints of yet another “anticipated” additional request in 2014 is absurd (article snippet below).

Incremental levies — “spread the load,” board members said Wednesday — using one vote by taxpayers to support two millage rates. In this case, if approved, the incremental levy would continue at the 6.9-mill level until 2012, then automatically increase by 4.9 mills from 2012 to 2014.

If approved, the levy would cost an additional $211 per year per $100,000 in home value from 2010 to 2012, then $361 — a $150 increase — per year per $100,000 in home value from 2012 to 2014. District finance officials said Monday they anticipate heading back to voters for another operating levy in 2014 or 2015.

The Pulse~Journal

With an economy sputtering and creating paycheck reductions for many residents along with some facing unemployment and mounting bills, it is not a good time for schools to be asking for more money. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t discount that our schools have announced cuts in spending and they have already eliminated positions, programs, some bus services and assistant this-and-that positions, but there comes a time when school employees across the board need to talk pay and benefit cuts just as in the private sector when business is in recession. Come back when we see the efficiencies of using our expensive facilities year around and school employees working without the excessive vacation, holiday and sick time … if and when that happens, then come to us with a school levy.

Comments

  • Ex-teacher

    Having taught most of my life, I can tell you that year around school as you suggest can work effectively. If you think the quality of education is important, keep the existing system and offer better out of school continuing education programs for teachers. Compete with pay and benefits with the private and government sector in order to attract the best and get rid of the senority structure that is based solely on years.

    I left due to the declining conditions such as loss of a personal classroom and support for our departement. Besides, there is far to much burn-out in the profession and most need a break away from students.

  • Jacob E

    Rich, my wife and MIL work in the Lakota district. 🙂 So I’m a bit biased probably. I’m right with you on the tax issue, there is definitely some cuts going to be made. Amanda is taking a leave of absence for a year around spring break due to us having a baby but she doesn’t think it’ll get approved and her position will get cut. MIL is on the chopping block too as they reduce the # of school nurses from 16 down to 9. She’s hoping she’ll be the above the yellow line. 🙂 The majority of the school budget goes to salaries, that’s where the focus needs to be, and they’re looking into it. Target classroom size is going to 27:1 which is less than what Amanda and her team do already.

    It’s harsh, but I think we need to look at the positions that cost the most on a per child basis. Unfortunately I think those are the ones that handle special needs kids. The christian in me says we can’t just dump these kids, they have equal rights just as the other kids do, but the cold hard accountant says you have to cut where it’s most effective. But then that raises another issue which is now the teacher has to handle it all with no aides and I’d think everything would suffer.

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.