Voters will decide April 2 whether to increase funding for the Osceola School District’s operating budget.
If approved, the funds would be used primarily to maintain operations at the current level, keeping classes at similar sizes, course offerings consistent, and offering competitive wages to attract and keep high-performing staff.
Money will also be used to ensure student safety, keeping staff in place to monitor visitor entry and equipping the school to help students with mental health and crisis management.
The district is requesting a non-recurring, stepped increase as follows:
$1.5 million for the 2019-2020 school year;
$1.75 million for 2020-2021;
$2.25 million for 2021-2022;
$2.75 million for 2022-2023.
The estimated tax impact on a hypothetical $100,000 home would be:
$23 approximate increase in the 2019-20 school year;
$52 in 2020-21 ($75 running total);
$60 in 2021-22 ($135 running total);
$40 in 2022-23 ($175 running total).
After that, the levy would end unless the district returns to voters with another request, which is in turn approved. According to information from the district, the school board plans to continue gathering information regarding future funding needs for the elementary school, capital improvements and operating costs.
These are maximum figures. If the district receives more money than expected in state funding, the school board may reduce the levy amount.
How does the request compare to the 2017 request?
In its final year, the increase is about $1 million less than the district asked for in 2017, a request voters rejected. The 2017 request started at $950,000 in fall 2017, increasing over the course of four years to reach $3.8 million.
That increase would have been recurring, or permanent. The 2019 request is non-recurring, allowing voters to reassess their position in a future election.
The Osceola School District held a referendum open house March 11 and will host another March 28, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., in the intermediate school’s media room.