FP School Budget options discussed with public

The Fayetteville-Perry School Board called a special public meeting June 20 to hear from opinions and recommendations from voters on how the schools can balance the budget for the next few school years.

The district’s state funding was cut to the bare minimum leaving the district scrambling to make up the loss. It was deemed by the board that an emergency school levy was necessary.

Superintendent of Fayetteville-Perry Schools Jim Brady, said in a recent interview that the voters in the district made it very clear that they would not/could not support a 10-year 7.8 mill emergency levy.

“That 10-year levy failed 75% against and only 25% for the levy,” Superintendent Brady said. “The levy would have generated $790,000, but the voters, understandably,  wanted more options.”

During the June 20 meeting Brady took to the microphone in front of the board and about 35 residents of the district and explained why the school needed help.

The board decided it was still necessary to pass another levy, but this time they wanted to open the options up to the community for their input.

Brady presented a powerpoint presentation after thanking everyone who turned out for the meeting. In his presentation he touched on the following subjects:

• Several groups were asked for input, before the March vote.

• Sub-committee’s were formed, chaired by a board member.

• Meetings were held with Senator Joe Uecker, State Representative Doug Green, and with the director of the Office of Budget and School Funding, Aaron Rausch, looking for answers as to why the district’s funding was cut so drastically.

• The districts Free and Reduced Meals program was hurting the district, and will continue until the district meets the 40% mark.

• HB 474 (College Credit Plus Program) although well-intended, has a significant financial and staffing impact on the district.

• The district has applied for and in hopes of receiving the ‘Straight A” Grant, but there’s no guarantee.

Each of the board members commented on other options that are available to the district including asking the voters to approve an ‘Earned Income Tax” for either .5% (half a cent) of every dollar earned or a 1 % (1 cent on every dollar earned).

Another option would be  to ask for support for an Emergency Levy (property tax) for 3.9 mills which would generate approximately $405,000 for not more than five years.

By the end of the nearly two-hour meeting the board heard from several member of the crowd who had been among those who were adamantly against the original 7.8 mill levy which failed.

The concensus of the crowd was that they loved their schools and were eager to help support it, and they would be likely to approve the a half percent earned income tax.

In the meantime, the board passed out a survey sheet to everyone at the meeting with plans on collecting the survey’s back, in the next few weeks.

The survey asks questions like:

–Do you feel the district offers a quality and cost effective education:

–Would you be likely to support any school levy?

–Would you support a .5 percent earned income tax levy?

–Would you support an Emergency Levy?

–Would you support a levy that would not exceed 5 years?

The survey asks 12 questions that will give the board some idea of how the voters are leaning.

The district has until the first of August to complete the paperwork for the auditors office in order to assure the levy will be on the November 2016 ballot.

Please call the school at (513) 875-2423 to get a copy of the survey.