Kings weighs operating levy
Last month Kings Superintendent Tim Ackermann proposed to the school board that, after six years since the last operating levy, the district may need to consider raising more funds.
But first, Ackermann said he wants to gauge community interest before even considering going on the ballot. The board has not yet voted on whether or not they will place an operating levy before the voters in November.
“We are going to have community conversations to determine if the board should place an operating levy on the ballot,” Ackermann told The Knight Times. “They will not vote on this until June at the earliest.”
He said it is too early to discuss potential cuts or reductions in the district, but pointed out
that Kings’ last operating levy was in 2010, and lasted much longer than expected. That levy was heavily supported by Kings voters, passing with nearly 60 percent approval.
“It was promised to last three years and it has lasted six,” Ackermann said. It was able to be stretched to six years for many reasons, but the two biggest were energy savings and the freeze in salaries/steps the staff took for two years during that time.”
However, Kings “finds itself in a position where it is spending $2.8 million more than it is bringing in via revenue,” Ackermann said. “In the future, we will either have to run a levy, make reductions, or do a combination of the two, within the next two years.”
The big question is: Is the community ready to support an operating levy? Ackermann wants to find out. He said he would like to conduct 30 to 40 “community conversations” over the next three to four months. These meetings will be small with no more than 30 people in order to reach out to the district families.
District Communications Coordinator Dawn Gould said early community presentations are scheduled for March 1 at Columbia Intermediate School, March 2 at South Lebanon Elementary, and March 7 at the Junior High..
Landen resident Rex Luken, who lives in the Kings district, said he plans to attend one of the meetings, and would be willing to listen to Ackermann’s proposal.
“I’m looking forward to attending one of the community meetings,” said Luken. “The approach is more personal. If there were to be a levy on the ballot in November I would vote yes.”
By Katie Ernst