South Range voters will determine fate of emergency levy

BEAVER TOWNSHIP-South Range Local residents will see a 4.8-mill new money levy on the Nov. 5 ballot. The 10-year emergency levy would generate $857,500 annually.

According to schools Superintendent Dennis Dunham, the district will end the fiscal year with a small balance. But the five-year forecast projects a deficit of at least $800,000 in fiscal year 2015 and double that in 2016.

The district has already seen drastic cost-saving measures such as introducing open enrollment, adjusting school hours to coincide with single-route busing and employee concessions including an absolute wage freeze and higher health contributions for all employees. But with continued increases in operating expenses, losses through vouchers, charter schools and open enrollment and stagnant-at-best state funding, the district is looking at increasing deficits.

“We absolutely need additional revenue to sustain and preserve the programs we have currently in place,” Dunham said. “We’re not necessarily looking to add programs, (we’re) looking to to keep what we’ve worked so hard to get in the first place.”

Money from the levy will be used for general operation of the school.

The district last passed a new money levy in 2004. Currently the district has three operating levies on the books.