Mill levy question — answered.

Dear Editor:

We have been wondering how we can explain a moving object, with moving parts — in response to the last few letters in the Mancos Times regarding the school Mill Levy.

The present school budget is online on the School District website – mancosre6.edu. Go to the Financial Transparency pull-down under District for the present figures.

The 2012-2013 budget shows where money is allocated for this school year. The District has dipped into reserves to keep the number of teachers required for each of the classes. There are no more reserves to dip into, which is why the Board is asking for a Mill Levy Override.

“What will be the consequence if we don’t get the Mill Levy Measure 3A passed?” The District will have to make decisions as to what classes will have to be cut. It will also not be able to raise teacher salaries to retain our current teachers or attract new hires. This has already been a problem.

“Which classes/programs will be cut?” This is a District decision and something the Mill Levy Committee has no say in whatsoever. It also changes year to year depending on the fall enrollment. The District doesn’t know how many kids will enroll, what ages they will be, what their educational needs will be, how much money the state will or won’t provide, or the costs of health care and energy — one can guess, make assumptions etc. but these factors are constantly changing. In addition, the school year and the state budget years are different. The 2012 District budget is predicated on current funding from the State, but that can change in January 2013 when the State revisits its funding. So, to answer what specific budget line item will be eliminated or adjusted will depend upon how all these factors add up at the beginning of the next school fiscal year. The District will have to face these decisions if the Mill Levy does not pass.

“But you didn’t answer the question on a line item cost!” The figure of $276,000 cannot be explained on a line by line basis. It is the minimum amount the District feels it will need to maintain the quality of education for the next few years while the economy is still in recovery. The District is aware that the local economy is struggling and therefore is requesting the minimum amount it feels is necessary. The Mill Levy request is significantly less than the annual loss in State revenue.

“What will happen if the mill levy passes?” Any increases in funds for the current budget year will be used for two things — to improve current teacher salaries, and to cover the anticipated increase in health care costs the district is expecting in January 2013. Other than that the classes and programs that are now in force would stay through this school year. Future expenditures will be tied to the fall enrollments each year.

We know that these answers won’t please everyone, but in this instance it is the most responsible way for us to answer these questions.

Please vote for the Mancos Mill Levy Override 3A. It is our School, Our Kids, Our Responsibility.

Sincerely,

The Mancos Mill Levy Co-Chair Committee