Triton Schools Referendum vote scheduled for November
Last year when the Triton School District Referendum votes were counted they came up just twenty-five votes short.
This fall after revamping the ballot questions the school district hopes that the votes will be in their favor this time around.
One of the main reasons why the school district has been pushing for a referendum for the last three years is due to the lack of funding from the state for small schools like Triton.
According to Superintendent Bret Joyce the state contribution of 2 percent is less than inflation of around 3 percent which means every year they will be forced to make more and more cuts unless they pass a referendum.
On Election Day voters in the district will have the chance to vote on three separate questions.
The first question on the ballot will be a vote to support $500 per student, which would generate new revenue to help with increasing costs of operating the schools, transportation, busing and maintaining our excellent class sizes. This Must pass for questions 2 or 3 to pass.
Question number to is where voters will be asked to approve a $150 per student, which would generate revenue for curriculum, instruction and new technology for all of our students. This revenue funds reading, math, and science curriculum for preK through 12 grade students.
Question 3 is for voters to approve $100 per student to support the fine arts. This means vocal and instrumental music programs as well as theatre for our schools.
One of the key points made by the school district when it comes to the levy increase is that for someone who owns the average valued home in the district they would only have to pay less than $1 per day if all three questions are passed.
For example an average valued home in the district is $125,000 and the tax impact if all three questions are answered yes would equal $217.
Another important statistic pointed out by the school district leaders is that currently Triton ranks 312 out of 330 schools for total general fund revenue.
According to a handout provided, Triton currently sits around the same or less than neighboring school districts with similar size student totals.
They also sit significantly below the state average of $1357 with a total 2018-2019 $724.
If all of the questions are answered yes their total will increase to $1474.
While this total may be above the state average it was pointed out that every year the state average increases so even with the increases Triton may find themselves at around the state average or possibly less still.
If the referendum does pass in its entirety the board may also choice not to levy for that amount every year.
For example if all three questions are passed then the board may choice to levy up to $1474 but they can also choice to levy for a lesser amount depending on the wishes of the board after calculating factors like state aid, financial health and other important factors.
While the school district maintains the recommended 10% operating cost as a fund balance the district knows that they will have to continue to make cuts that will have a direct impact on their students as they have had to do in the past few years.
What is a Operating Levy
A local tax that district residents approve to help support student programs, opportunities, and services in their local districts. These dollars are used to maintain or enhance the quality of existing educational instructional programs and services.
As part of the referendum process community members in the district will have a chance to attend different public members to hear presentations and ask any questions they may have for district leaders.
Those meetings are scheduled for the following:
Voters will have a chance to vote yes or no on the different questions on Election Day this year.
For those with questions about the referendum can either attend one of the three public meetings being held or contact the hotline 507-428-7530, or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.