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Board Stands United with Ad Valorem Proposal

Board Stands United with Ad Valorem Proposal

School System projecting collection of over 1000 signatures of support

 

The Butler County Board of Education held the regular Board meeting for September Thursday night in the Board room.  Highlighting the meeting was the Board approval of a resolution requesting the County Commission to call and conduct an election for an Ad Valorem increase. 

“I am very proud of our Board and community.  I am proud that each Board member expressed their support from their heart for the Ad Valorem proposal and I am proud of our community for their support by signing our necessary petitions…900 hundred signatures and counting,” said Superintendent John Strycker of the meeting. 

During the meeting, Dr. Strycker again explained why the school system is seeking the Ad Valorem increase from the current 12 mills to 18 mills (state average). 

“Both the Board and I understand that asking for a tax increase is not popular and that we simply feel it is our responsibility to present our community options moving forward,” said Strycker.  Currently, the School System is one of the lowest locally funded school systems in the state ranking 133 out of 137 in one of the lowest funded states in the country for public education from property tax revenue per capita. 

“Due to our funding situation and projected debt, we either need to increase our revenue or begin cutting programs.  We are in a structural budget deficit and at this rate we will be bankrupted in 2 to 4 years.  Therefore, it is our responsibility to give our community the option of revenue before we begin to cut necessary programs,” continued Strycker.  Programs to be considered for reduction include:

  1. Additional Central Office Administrative Costs
  2. Coaching and Technology Supplements
  3. AmeriCorps Program
  4. Consolidation: Relocation of Head Start, Pre-K, and Central Office
  5. Outsourcing Services
  6. Reduction of Pre-K classes (Bright Beginnings)
  7. Reduction in Workforce

The above list does not include past reduction proposals that might need to be considered such as the JROTC program, consolidation of schools, and eliminating bus transportation within 2 miles of each school. 

Each Board member took time to express their concern for the school system and the need to be proactive considering the budget.  “Our options to balance our budget and move forward with resources are limited,” said Board President Brandon Sellers who spoke passionately about the school system and students under his care.

Strycker also reported that he was very pleased that in three weeks, the school system already has 900 signatures for the Ad Valorem petition from Butler County registered voters.  “I realize we only need 200 signatures for each Ad Valorem statute, so I am very pleased with the overwhelming support from our community.  I anticipate over 1,000 signatures by the time they are due to the County Commission understanding that we only need 200.”

Next steps include presentation of the petitions and Board resolution in support of the Ad Valorem to the County Commission before an election date is set.  The Board is proposing a January 29 Special Election.  The Board set this date so the school system could begin to receive funding within the next fiscal year. 

The Board also heard a Curriculum Update from Donna Ash and Budget Update from CFO Brandi Mosley.  Dr. Strycker also updated the Board on the progress of the new playground and park at Greenville Elementary School.

Other Board actions included the monthly Financial Report, 2019 Capital Plan, approval of bids for Child Nutrition Program equipment, recommended textbook adoptions and the monthly Personnel Report.  The Board also approved a contract with Gracepoint Greenville Church for the use of the Greenville High School auditorium. 

Recognition for the month included the school system’s building principals for their work and dedication to the school.  “In this day-and-age, building administrators not only have daily operations to manage, but also have increased safety considerations.  Yet, our administrators give their heart and soul for our students whom they love,” said Strycker. 

Regarding any questions or concerns, please call John Strycker, Superintendent, at (334) 382-2665.