Sheridan School Board votes for technology levy, will not run general fund levy
The Sheridan School Board met on March 13 for their regular monthly meeting and discussed the upcoming election. According to District Clerk Rebecca Larsen, the board decided to go against running a general fun levy, however, are looking to run a continued building reserve levy for both the high school and elementary, and a technology levy.
“The board decided not to run a general fund levy, but we do have a building reserve levy of $20,000 a year for five years, both for the high school and elementary buildings,” said Larsen. According to Larsen, these levies are already in place and would be renewal, meaning a taxpayer amount would not change. Larsen said the board has not yet determined their ballot language but estimated a building reserve levy for the high school would be approximately 3.38 mils. “The two building reserve levies are just replacing the current ones and there would not be an increase on taxes,” she said.
The board also intend to impose a technology fund levy at $25,000 for 10 years, approximately 7.14 mils. “We estimated the tech levy will increase taxes by $9.48 per year,” said Larsen.
While a 7.14 mil levy looks like a lot to some, Sheridan Superintendent Mike Wetherbee said the cost of doing business in the technology industry has risen dramatically. “The tech levy has been a perpetual levy, meaning it wasn’t previously voted on,” said Wetherbee. “The cost of doing the tech business has risen dramatically over the last five years and our ability to keep it within what we’ve been doing has been costing us more and more. Just to keep up with our already aggressive approach to keep technology in front of the kids, we have to go outside of the box to find grants and lot of public donations. Our levy money is just what we keep for the general part of the system.”
For example, Wetherbee said the school needs to get new computers in their computer lab every three to five years, just to keep up on things as simple as testing, which is a $10,000 bill in itself.
“I think this is going to be a trend that you’ll see with schools,” said Wetherbee. “We’ve had these perpetual levies and they’ve been good at keep us where we need to be, but it’s getting more expensive than where our levies are, and we want to keep some, if not all, out of the general fund.”
The board is still in talks with an architect about updating the school’s track facility and are preparing to present their findings to the public. “We’re committed to putting a piece together for the public – whether that makes it to a levy or not, I’m not sure,” said Wetherbee.
During their March 13 meeting, the board unanimously approved to renew Elementary Principal Rod Stout’s contract for another school year.