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October 23, 2017

10/11/2017 2:33:00 PM
Vote on $750 increase per pupil

By Karen M. Jorgensen

Voters in the Triton School District will be heading to the polls on Nov. 7 to let the school district know if they want it to increase the general revenue fund by $750 per student.

Why does the district want the increase?

"Our case is pretty straight-forward," Supt. Brett Joyce said last week. The bottom line, he said, is that the district needs additional funds to keep programs and staff at the current level.

For the current 2017-2018 school year, district figures show, the district has a fund balance of $1,111,436. Next year, without the additional funds, that balance will be $626,556. By the 2019-2020 school year, that figure would be a negative $128,006 and by 2020-2021 the balance would be negative $1,166,852.

Auditors and district officials have said the district should have a fund balance of at least $1,500,000.

The projected fund balance if the levy is approved will be $1,531,632 for 2018-2019, $1,672,652 for 2019-2020 and $1,522,019 for 2020-2021.

The district finds itself in this position, Joyce said, largely because the state has not been funding education at an appropriate level.

This past legislative session the state approved a two percent increase in school funding, Joyce said, but that figure is not enough to keep up with inflation.

The district also has lost some funding since it let a $350 per student levy expire in 2014. At the time, Joyce said, the district had a healthy fund balance and the board felt they were doing the best thing for the taxpayers by not reissuing that levy.

The board did make substantial reductions when it came time to prepare the 2017-2018 budget, Joyce said, and cut nearly $400,000.

Read the rest of the story in the print edition of the Star Herald.

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