The DEMS large group room was filled on Feb. 15 with community members who came to hear what the Darlington School Board and Administration had to say about the $2.2 million recurring operational referendum that is proposed.
School Board president Aaron Wolfe gave a presentation about why the school is asking for the $2.2 million recurring referendum, what the money will go towards and how much everything will cost the tax payers in the Darlington school district.
Wolfe stated that the state revenue limit given to the school is no longer adequate and cannot meet the needs the Darlington school district has. The last school referendum was in 2011 and was for $700,000 over a five-year period. That last $700,000 will expire next year. The board is proposing with the $2.2 million referendum, in the 2016-17 school year, $800,000 will be used along with the expiring $700,000. In the 2017-18 school year, $1,750,000 will be used and in the 2018-19 school year, $1,850,000. The district would only be taxed for what is needed and not the full amount.
If the referendum passes on April 5, the mil rate for the 2016-17 year will increase by $2.64 from the $10.02 it is now, to $12.66. For the 2017-18 year it will decrease by $0.08 to $12.58 and then increase by $0.01 to $12.59 in 2018-19 school year.
This referendum calls for the $2.2 million to be on a recurring, which means there is no end date to the $2.2 million. In the past, the school has had non-recurring referendums. Board member Matt Wilson explained who the non-recurring and recurring are calculated and how the board came up with the $2.2 million amount.
Wolfe addressed how this referendum would only be for operational needs and not for any building projects. There may need to be another referendum to go before the district in the fall to help with facility issues. If this referendum fails in April, it could also come up again in the fall. If it fails, most of the $1.5 million budget cuts would come from staffing.
At the school board meeting before the forum, the board members approved:
-and accepted a technology donation valued at $200 from the Aaron Wolfe family.
-a scholarship from Badger State Ethanol to a 2015 graduate. The board would also like to thank Badger State Ethanol.
-a field trip to the Art Institute of Chicago.
Another forum will take place March 15. Other material and information can be found on the Darlington Community Schools website.