Mead School Board considers levy to help cover $12 million budget shortfall

Mead School Board considers levy to help cover $12 million budget shortfall
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On Tuesday members of the Mead School District board met to continue their discussion on the district’s budget shortfall during a special work session.

In April, officials told the public that the district would need to find a way to cut nearly $12 million dollars from their budget.

In Tuesday night’s meeting, the board president said that the district may have to present a levy to voters. Another board member echoed the sentiment saying, “I don’t think we have any other choice.”

Hopping around topics here, however the levy topic has already been broached. “I don’t think we have any choice”- said one board member. All hypothetical right now and not decided, but sounds like it would be $1/1000 of assessed property value #kxly

— Hawk Hammer (@HawkKXLY) May 21, 2019

Nothing has been officially decided, however there is already a general idea of how much people would pay if the levy were to be passed.

As of right now, the board would be asking tax payers for $1 per every $1000 of assessed property value. So for example, if you own a house worth $100,000, you would pay $100 dollars more in property taxes every year.

The board recently announced they would be closing two district schools- M.E.A.D Alternative High School and Riverpoint Academy- board president says that if voters approved the levy that it could help them re-open them down the road.

“Its not a position that we want to be in,” said Board President Carmen Green, “but I feel compelled that we should at least ask our voters if they want to support a supplemental levy.”

She says that would help the district bring in roughly $6.5 million and help them meet costly state requirements.

Staffing reductions remain on the table as well, but Green said it is looking like they won’t have to cut any teachers because of retirements and attrition. The details of cuts to paraeducators and other positions are still being finalized.

Green was echoed by other board members in saying that these budget decisions have been some of the hardest they’ve ever had to make.

“We are in it for the kids, that is why we do this, and having students come to meetings when you are closing a school that is meaningful to them, thats the hardest to do of all things,” she said, “to see the look in their eyes.”

She says the board is taking things step by step and is trying to remain positive and hopeful as they work to find every possible way of getting the district back on track. Its a tough challenge and one occurring in many other districts in the region.

If the levy decision is finalized, the board has to request approval from OSPI to put it on the ballot. If approved, it would be voted on in November.

This is a developing story. More information will be added when it becomes available.

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