WEST ALEXANDRIA — The Twin Valley Community Local Schools will have two levy renewals on the ballot when voters go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
The first levy is a five-year renewal on a 9-mill property tax for current operating expenses which will be Issue 13 at the polls. If voters choose to renew the levy, they will continue to pay the current level of property tax of 90 cents for every $100 of property valuation.
Issue 14 is an emergency requirement five-year renewal for 2.6 mills, which, if approved by voters, will continue to pay 26 cents for every $100 of property valuation.
According to Twin Valley South Superintendent Dr. Clint Moore, the money brought in from the levy will go to general operating costs for things like personnel, supplies and insurance. He describes it as the “cost of doing business.”
“We want the community to know we have balanced our budget, but without these dollars we would quickly lose place — these are not dollars we can do without,” Moore said.
According to Moore, one of the biggest areas affected if the renewals were not to pass would be personnel.
Moore said about 75 percent of all costs for public education entities is staffing.
He continued by saying the school works hard to keep curriculum standards up and student-to-teacher ratios down. “The last five years, we’ve done what I think is a very good job balancing student and teacher ratios and course offerings, so we have a good educational program but there is no fat to be trimmed,” he said.
According to Moore, the school currently has a ratio of one teacher to every student in the primary schools, and one teacher to about every 25 students in junior high. He says high school varies depending on graduation requirements and department availability.
Moore said the most common question he has received about the issue has been those asking if the school has been spending money wisely.
Moore said he believes the past five years show the district has a track record of spending money wisely, and said he has an open-door policy for anyone who wishes to look at the books or discuss the budget with him.
Moore also noted the K-12 building will be paid off next year. He said he hopes to be able to place a replacement levy on a future ballot for a Permanent Improvement tax which can go toward maintaining the 20-year-old facility.
According to Moore, because of cuts at the state level, locals are being required to pay more for local services like education.
Moore said one of his biggest concerns about cuts to state funding is local taxpayer exhaustion — but, he says the district is looking into ways to simplify the levy process for voters by consolidating levies so voters can better understand levies from the school.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.