School Comments by Dr. Robert Mayer The citizens of the Vermillion School District 13-1 are aware that the school board voted to opt out of the school funding formula on June 23. The amount of the opt out is $600,000 for each of five years. The school board has also deferred this issue directly to the voters and an election will be held on Sept. 23. Therefore, it is not necessary for citizens to gather signatures on a petition to bring about an election.
The opt out, if supported by the citizens, would provide the school district the needed funds to continue the services that are now being offered. The $600,000 is not being requested for the purpose of adding new programs but rather to prevent future budget cuts. Taxes payable in 2004 would be subjected to the increase.
The reason for the request is due to the fact that the Vermillion School District has for the last three years experienced revenue shortfalls (expenses over revenues). The school board has dealt with these shortfalls by making budget cuts and spending its reserve account. By the school year 2004-05 the reserve account will no longer be adequate and future budget cuts will have a serious impact upon the quality of education.
The budget cuts over the past three years have totaled $556,000, These cuts have had a negative impact upon the district but they have not been devastating. Future cuts involving increasing class size in elementary grades and reducing high school elective course offerings will have a far more serious affect upon the quality of education the district can provide.
In order to help citizens understand the complexity and significance of the opt out issue, I will be submitting a number of articles that deal with school funding, the state aid formula, and budget cuts that were made. In addition we will make public budget cuts that will need to be made if an opt out is not successful. Furthermore, I am willing to speak to community organizations or citizens privately about the opt out situation. Please call if you have questions 677-7000.