Although nothing has been made official, it’s no secret the Stillwater Area School Board is strongly considering placing levy questions on the ballot in November.
A levy approved by the Stillwater area community five years ago will expire at the end of next school year—and if the levy is not renewed, school district officials say there will be a budget shortage of $11 million.
That shortfall comes on the heels of more than $6 million in budget cuts made this year, and $22 million in reductions over the last 12 years.
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As the district stares down the end of an expiring levy, 11 “cost center” teams have been working to create “a clear picture for the public of exactly how we’ve invested our existing levy dollars and what we would stand to lose if the levy is not renewed.”
The cost centers are comprised of 11 different working groups that were charged with putting together two separate budget reduction lists.
“The budget reductions were developed in the unlikely event that our levy doesn’t pass next fall,” an email send to Rutherford Elementary School parents reads. “These reductions will be for the 2014 – 2015 school year.”
Next week, the district will hold a series of meetings for families to learn about the cost centers work, view potential budget-reduction lists and share input about school budgets.
During the cost center meetings parents will have the opportunity to share thoughts regarding the following questions:
- What things on the list are of greatest concern to you?
- What things do you believe are missing from this list?
- What things do you believe should remain on this list?
Town hall meetings to be held in late February. The school board will review this list in March, and is expected to approve it as the list of budget reductions that would be made if the levy is not renewed.
Cost Center Meetings will happen:
- Monday, Feb. 4 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Oak Park Elementary Media Center
- Tuesday, Feb. 5 from 6-7 p.m. in the Lily Lake Media Center
- Tuesday, Feb. 5 from 6-7 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room at Rutherford
- Tuesday, Feb. 5 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Stonebridge Elementary School
- Tuesday, Feb. 5 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Afton-Lakeland Media Center
- Tuesday, Feb. 5 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Andersen Media Center
- Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 5-6 p.m. from Marine Elementary School
- Wednesday, Feb. 6 from 6-7 p.m. in the Main Forum Room at Stillwater Area High School for parents, guardians and community members interested in learning about cost centers involving Oak-Land and Stillwater junior highs and Stillwater Area High School invites
- Thursday, Feb. 7 from 7-8 p.m. in the Lake Elmo Elementary Media Center