Tuesday, November 22, 2005

No tax-rate increase on this year's D-50 referendum

Well done District 50 school board. Thank you for choosing not to divide our community anymore. This is a welcome sign to the citizens of Harvard. Let us hope the assured lower taxes will encourage buyers for the numerous homes up for sale in Harvard. Let us also hope the city council will work on improving the appearence of Ayer Street to encourage economic resurgence in Harvard.

From The Northwest Herald

No tax-rate increase on this year's D-50 referendum

HARVARD – For the first time in several years, District 50 voters will not be asked to approve a tax-rate increase this spring.

School board members on Monday night voted not to put the district's eighth referendum on the April ballot. The board also opted against moving forward with cuts planned for the 2006-07 school year, which would have included the junior high student council; junior high yearbook; the fall musical; and high school soccer, track, and golf.

The board's decision was met with applause by members of the small audience.

"I think it's great," said parent Laura Lucy, who has two children attending Harvard High School. "They've been defeated how many times? I think everyone's a little tired of it."

District leaders cited a balanced budget as part of the reason behind their choice. The district announced in September it had a $19.75 million budget showing that education-fund revenues will exceed spending by about $200,000.

"We're moving ahead in the black," board member Jae Fielding said. "I firmly believe in the next couple of years the same thing is going to happen."

In addition to taking a break from the polls, at least for now, district officials may look into bringing back some programs that previously were cut. Included in the district's most recent cuts were junior high jazz band, freshman sports at Harvard High School and the high school Scholastic Bowl.

"We cut a lot of things to balance the budget," Superintendent Randy Gross said. "We've stopped the bleeding."

Still, board members acknowledged the balanced budget came at a high price.

"There has been a cost to get to where we are," District 50 School Board President Ken Book said.

Although Fielding deemed the board's decision a "win-win for everybody," he issued a warning when it came to bringing back programs.

"I think we need to be very careful as we investigate things," he said.

But for parents such as Lucy, the fact that there will be no referendum this spring is a good sign.

"I'm very glad," she said. "I think it says they're listening to the people."

What it means

Touting a balanced budget, District 50 leaders have decided not to hold a referendum in April. In addition, cuts previously planned for the 2006-07 school year will not take place.


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