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Building a Better Future: A closer look at ballot question one

Again, thank you for taking the time to be informed on the Building a Better Future referendum. This week we’re going to take a closer look at ballot question one. 

Question one requests an increase in the district’s operating levy, which pays for day-to-day learning and instructional needs. If approved by voters, it would provide an additional $7 million a year for the district to continue and expand individualized learning, academic interventions, student mental health needs and other critical classroom supports. Let’s take a closer look at these: 

  • Individualized learning is adapting teaching strategies to align with each scholar’s learning style. Building relationships is the first step in achieving this, which takes both time and supports. 
  • Academic interventions provide additional help to scholars who are struggling with math and/or reading. Our vision statement talks about each and every one of our scholars thriving. Academic interventions are needed to make that happen.
  • Student mental health needs, often called social-emotional supports, help scholars learn to get along with others. These supports are critical to success in school, life and work, and research shows that their presence enhances academic performance and reduces classroom disruptions. The latest state and district parent/caregiver surveys show such supports as being a top need.

The current voter-approved operating levy is about 12% of this district’s budget or $35 million a year. The increase being presented to voters will mitigate budget cuts anticipated to begin the 2023-24 school year as some of these priorities have been funded with one-time dollars that are expiring. Also, when the operating levy began in 2013, it was used to pay for 378 staff members. The same levy today will pay for 320 staff members, which is a decrease of 15% or 58 staff members.

Learn more about the desired daily experience that families and community members have asked us to provide at district279.org/StrategicPlan. Watch this week’s Community Informational Meeting on YouTube or visit district279.org/BetterFuture for further details.