Questions and Facts
What is on the ballot?
The District 196 School Board is recommending the community to revoke the existing operating levy of $940 per pupil, which was approved by district voters in 2013, and replace it with a new 10-year levy for $1,567 per pupil, an increase of $627 per pupil. The single ballot question would raise an additional $19 million per year, plus annual inflationary increases. The net tax impact of the proposed question would be $25 per month, or $300 per year, on the average-value home in the district, which is $286,500.
The School Board is asking this question to avoid $18 million in additional budget cuts and fund improvements to classroom staffing, increased mental health support for students and after-school activity bus transportation.
What is the difference between levy and a bond?
Levies are for learning and bonds are for building
- A school levy is funded through taxes imposed on local property owners in order to raise money for services. Money from a levy can only be used to improve access to technology and educational materials, building equipment and maintenance, hiring of support staff that may not be funded by the state and other non-capital projects.
- A school bond is used to fund capital costs, such as building construction and/or renovations, system upgrades or vehicle purchases. The district asks for voter approval to acquire bonds from investors. Once the dollars are spent, the district pays it back over a specific period of time (such as 30 years).
What would the levy referendum fund?
If voters approve the operating levy referendum, District 196 is focusing on three main goals:
- Lowering class sizes;
- Increasing mental health supports for all students, and
- Restoration of after-school activity bus transportation at all middle and high schools.
Has the district made other budget adjustments prior to calling for a levy referendum?
Earlier this year, the District 196 School Board approved the $7 million in budget adjustments that will take effect in the 2019-20 school year.
The cuts included:
- Elimination of more than 30 teaching positions;
- Reduced funding for instructional supplies, and
- Increased fees for students to participate in cocurricular activities.