April 30, 2014…Liberty residents will head to the polls on Tuesday, May 20, to vote on a $42,202,840 budget proposal for the 2014-15 school year. This represents a 3 percent, or $1,237,717, increase in spending over the 2013-14 budget. Voters will also select from among six candidates for three open seats on the Liberty Board of Education.
If approved, the proposed budget would increase the tax levy by $137,262, or 0.72 percent, making this the third year that the district’s levy is at or below the maximum allowable tax levy increase, as outlined in the state’s tax levy “cap” legislation. Since the proposed levy is within the legal threshold, a simple majority vote (50 percent plus one) is needed for budget approval.
The proposed spending plan includes an
appropriation of $730,833 from fund balance and reserves,
which is $250,838 less than was used in the current school
year. This 26 percent decrease reflects the Board of
Education’s goal to reduce reliance on fund balance and
Increased aid helps, but does not compensate for past decreases; losses due to GEA
Although Liberty’s state aid is expected to increase 6.76 percent, or $1.3 million, next school year, this amount is still less than aid received by the district in the 2009-10 school year. In addition, the Gap Elimination Adjustment has caused the district to lose over $6 million in state aid, leading to multiple years of staff reductions, consolidation of services and changes to programs.
This, combined with increasing costs
such as retirement system contributions, health insurance,
contractual salary obligations and certain mandated expenses
(e.g. costs associated with
APPR requirements, among others), are main factors driving
the increase in the proposed spending plan.
Growth in enrollment at LES, shifts in curriculum at LMS call for changes to staffing
The proposed 2014-15 budget seeks to make minimal reductions to staffing or programs for the second year in a row, and adds an elementary teacher (to address enrollment growth at the elementary level), an informational technology position (district wide), one English language arts instructor and one English language learner instructor in the middle school, to provide additional support to seventh-grade students.
Seventh-grade Spanish would be eliminated in favor of a more comprehensive curriculum in Spanish to be offered to eighth-grade students, resulting in the decrease of a foreign language position and one teacher aide at the middle school.
“As a board, we strive to be mindful of taxpayer’s ability pay, while trying to do what is best for our students,” explained Liberty Board of Education President Daniel Parkhurst. “On May 20, voters will have the opportunity to decide if we struck the right balance."
Review the 2014-15 Proposed Budget Statement and 2012-13
District Report Card and Fiscal Accountability Supplement
(PDF format. Note: this is a large file (6.6 MB). If you are
not able to download this document and would like to view a
paper copy, please contact the business office at