Valmeyer school referendum back on ballot

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Valmeyer School District voters will be asked to renew a referendum that provides about $300,000 in working cash annually to the district to allow it to continue to educate students at current levels.

The referendum voters will consider was originally passed in 2012 by a margin of 76 to 24 percent.

“We’ve been as transparent as possible. We’re asking the community to extend it another five years,” Valmeyer school superintendent Eric Frankford said. “This would not be an increase. It would just be a continuation of the bond level approved earlier.”

In 2012, the referendum for temporary working cash bonds over five years “was truly a temporary move. But we’ve reached the point where things haven’t improved in the state of Illinois,” Frankford said.

If the referendum is not approved, cuts to services would be necessary and would likely be to extracurricular programs, as well as causing class sizes to increase, according to Frankford.

“The loss of $300,000 (per year) out of a $4.5 million budget is a lot of money,” he said. “It would be felt. Where those areas could be would end up being a tough decision,” he said.
This referendum is separate from the County School Facilities Sales Tax voters throughout Monroe County will also consider on the April ballot. That tax would raise the current sales tax level by 1 percent countywide, from 6.5 to 7.5 percent.

Vehicles, mobile homes, unprepared food (groceries), drugs, farm equipment/parts/inputs and services would be exempted from this tax. The money collected would be pooled, then redistributed to the county’s three public school districts.

Each school would receive a portion of funds equal to the percentage of the county’s students educated in that district; for Valmeyer, that would be 10 percent of money received from the sales tax. These funds could only be used for maintenance and upgrades to the facility they could not be used for educational expenses.

Town hall meetings on the proposed referendum are scheduled for Feb. 25 and March 8, at 7 p.m. at the school.

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