In the past few years, the way public schools are funded has led to some far reaching changes at Independent School District 166. There has been administrative restructuring, as well as staff and teacher layoffs. Activity and instructional fees have been increased. Many other belt-tightening measures have been implemented. The school board maintains that in spite of what they’ve done, it’s increasingly harder to deliver good education in the face of ever-tightening budget constraints.
Their answer to the problem will come in the form of an operating levy referendum on the November ballot. Voters will be asked to help fund $650 per pupil unit over a period of five years. The annual increase of $377,600 will help offset declining state and federal aids, the effects of a shrinking enrollment and payment shifts that require the District to borrow to meet expenses.
According to Superintendent Beth Schwarz, an operating levy is a voter-approved, property tax increase which will allow the District to sustain current programming, boost overall student achievement and maintain facilities. An operating levy does not create new programs or new construction.
The levy will have an impact on residential homesteads, apartments, commercial/industrial and agricultural properties but does not apply to seasonal/recreational property. The District expects to post an interactive chart showing how the levy will impact individual properties.