By Dr. John Sample
Let me start by thanking our community for participating in the Fall Community-Wide Referendum Survey. As you may be aware, we have a challenge ahead of us with regard to how we fund our schools and maintain the excellent education and opportunities that this community values.
We have listened to your priorities for our schools:
76% of all residents support a referendum of some type
62% of all residents support a $2.5 million referendum
$1.8M for operational costs
$700,000 to address other budget priorities
Of the six priorities identified, the following three showed the most support:
68% of all residents support Industrial/Technical Education & shop classes
58% of all residents support addressing annual building maintenance needs
58% of all residents support funding to retain high-quality staff
As a result, the Board of Education has authorized an Operational Funding Referendum for April 3, 2018 for a community vote. The proposed Operational Funding Referendum would do the following:
Support the Merrill Area Public Schools, consistent with the direction, guidance, and values of the community as measured by the resident survey
Increase revenues by $2.5M each year for four (4) years
What will the referendum cost?
If approved, the referendum is estimated to cost a maximum of $.06 per $1,000 of property value over the current 2017-18 school mill rate, or $6.00 per year for every $100,000 of property value.
Why a referendum?
While cuts have historically occurred due to our declining student population, cuts at this point will impact entire programs/activities.
The Board and MAPS is committed to informing every resident about the proposed Operational Funding Referendum. I invite our community to learn more:
•Please email your questions to email@example.com
•Call Brian Dasher, Director of Finance, or myself at 715-536-4581, extension 10002
•Beginning Jan. 26, stop in any Friday (4-5 p.m.) to the Central Office – my door is open and you do not need an appointment!
•Watch your mailboxes for an informational newsletter in February
•Join us for a Referendum Information Night on March 19
I encourage all residents to take the opportunity to learn about this referendum and to be an informed voter on April 3!