SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — Shawnee schools has decided to put a tax levy on the ballot for May 4, 2021.
The five-year 4.58 mill levy would raise $2.2 million for each year.
In 2018, voters defeated a 10-year, 4.48 mill levy which would have raised $1.95 million for the school district.
The school board Tuesday night passed a resolution supporting the need for the new money.
“This is something that we definitely needed,” said Kenny Gross, board president. “I think we came up with the right number to bring it out to the district to get us where we need to be in the future years to come and be successful.”
“This will now allow the treasurer to go to the county auditor and establish the ballot language. The next step will be for the board to take action to actually place it in the hands of the board of elections to go before the voters and that’ll be in the January meeting,” said James Kanable, Shawnee schools superintendent.
Despite making $600,000 in cuts since 2018, there’s still a need for more money.
“We’re living on the budget that was established for us in 2004-5. That’s the last time this district passed new money and that unto itself is a tribute to the operations of the district for so many years. It’s coming a time where we once had a fairly substantial carryover that’s no longer present or existent and with that, it becomes a responsibility of the school board and our district to provide the funds necessary to educate our children,” Kanable said.
Quite bluntly, the school district is running out of money.
“We are operating at about a $2.2, $2.3 million deficit. Looking forward to the next couple of years a $2.2 million levy it seems to be an appropriate ask at this time to meet with that,” Kanable said.
Even though the district is asking for more money, it would be for a shorter period of time.
“We’ve waited three years since the last time we asked (for money) and we’re asking for, instead of a 10 year (levy) a five-year levy. The dollar amount is a bit more at this point. I think one-tenth of a mill larger at this time than previously, but our conditions have changed. We’ve made $600,000 in cuts. We’ve done things that we feel are responsible in managing the money that the public has given us and we feel that there is definitely a need for additional money at this time. The time is right,” Kanable said.
In the coming weeks, a campaign will be put together to get information out about the continuing need for more money for the school district.
“We’re going to have conversations. I think the best voter’s an informed voter, and that becomes our responsibility to talk with our voters and have those conversations,” Kanable said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409