On Tuesday, May 15, residents will head to the polls to vote on a $48,849,113 proposed budget for the 2018-19 school year. In need of a refresher? Scan these facts for a more informed conversation about your local school budget before you cast your ballot.
1. The board of education worked with district and school leaders to develop the 2018-19 budget proposal, which was informed by the district’s mission, educational goals, fiscal challenges and opportunities and community input.
2. The district remains under the tax cap. Including this coming proposed budget, the average five year tax levy increase is zero. The actual tax levy will not be set until August, after the district receives its true state aid revenue projections.
3. The proposed budget is built on three pillars: safety, programs and technology. Within these pillars, highlights include:
An additional school resource officer
After the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida, school safety has resurfaced as a significant challenge of the times. In response, the district understands the value and necessity for a visible and active law enforcement figure within the schools, to work hand-in-hand with faculty, administrators and students. The proposed budget includes funds for a door alarm system the elementary school and a second School Resource Officer who would patrol our three school buildings and district office.
The creation of a K-8 MakerSpace
For several years, there has been a national focus on careers related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM.) More recently, this focus has come to include the arts. The proposed budget includes funds to create a K-8 MakerSpace, a lab which contains age-appropriate elements found in a woodshop class, science lab, computer lab and an art room. With a MakerSpace, students won’t just learning about cities, they’ll build them from the ground up.
Updated, stronger and faster technology
If the budget is approved, the district would purchase equipment for the MakerSpace and would outfit all classrooms with new iPads, SmartBoards, computers and cameras. Additionally, the district would have a significant increase in the capabilities of its internal network, including more storage, more bandwidth and a faster internet connection.
4. There is a proposition on the ballot that asks voters for approval to expend money from the Capital Reserve Fund. The district has $1,650,000 left in its Capital Reserve Fund and would like voter approval to expend the fund to pay down expenses from the Phase II Capital Project. Just like a savings account, this fund lets the district set aside money for future projects and major purchases.
5. Polls are open Tuesday, May 15 from 12-9 p.m. in the Liberty High School’s gymnasium. Additional details of the budget can be found at www.libertyk12.org/budget.