The Riverside Local Schools Board of Education voted 5-0 to put a 4.9-mill Continuous Operating Levy on the May 2 ballot during its January 24 Board of Education meeting. Below are a list of frequently asked questions regarding Issue 1.
What is Issue 1?
Issue 1 is a 4.9-mill continuous Operating Levy on the May 2 ballot that if approved by voters, will allow the District to restore bus service and elementary level programs as well as reduce fees for pay to participate.
Busing would be restored for all grades – kindergarten through 12th grade – for students who live outside a half-mile drive of his or her school. Pay to play fees will decrease to $200 for high school sports and $150 for 7th and 8th grade sports. The fee for cheerleading and band will be set at $150 as well. The District will also restore elementary-level programs – which may include arts, health and wellness and technology.
Funds from Issue 1 would also be used for general operations throughout the District.
How does Issue 1 differ from the Bond Levy that passed in November?
The Bond Levy that passed in November of 2016 allows the District to construct two new elementary schools while closing Hadden, Hale Road, Leroy and Madison Avenue elementary schools (upon completion of the new buildings), which are a combined 346-years-old. Funds from a Bond Levy can only be used for construction and cannot be used for operational costs.
How much would it cost taxpayers if Issue 1 passes?
If approved, Issue 1 would cost taxpayers $14.29 per month per $100,000 valuation.
When is the last time the District passed a new money Operating Levy?
August of 2004.
Since 2004, what is the timeline and results of new money Operating Levies for the District?
Since 2004, the District has failed four new money operating levies in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Due to those four failed levies, the District was forced to cut nearly $7 million from its budget between 2010 and 2012 which resulted in:
* Elimination of 78 full-time employee positions
* Near State Minimum Busing
* Cuts to elementary, middle school and high school programs
* Increased Pay to Participate fees
Three out of the four failed levies on the ballot between 2010 and 2012 would have retained or restored busing had the levy passed.
Aside from Operating levies and the previously mentioned Bond Levy (above), the District passed a 2.5-mil Permanent Improvement Levy in November of 2015. Funds from a permanent improvement levy can only be used for improvements to school property – and not operations or construction. The 2.5-mill PI Levy replaces the 1.89-mill PI Levy that originally passed in 1996, but expired in 2016.
What is the current situation with busing, programs and pay to participate?
Currently, there is no busing for high school students. K-5 students who live outside a mile drive of his or her school have busing and 6-8 students who live outside two miles of LaMuth Middle School and John R. Williams have busing. Busing is almost at state minimum requirements.
For programs, elementary students currently only have gym, music and art for 12 weeks each instead of all-year-round.
Pay to Participate fees can be as high as $641 and most sports are well above $200 to participate.
Does Issue 1 have anything to do with the High School football field getting synthetic turf?
No. The turf for the football field is being funded by a Lake Health sponsorship and money from the Permanent Improvement Fund. Updating the current field with turf provides many benefits including enhanced safety, less maintenance and water cost and more importantly, the ability to open up the field to other school sponsored sports teams as well as outside community organizations, programs and youth leagues.
If Issue 1 passes, how soon would students & parents see the benefits of busing, programs and reduced pay to participate?
Because Issue 1 is on the May ballot, services would be restored as early as the 2017-2018 school year.
What will happen if Issue 1 fails?
At this point, the Board has not made any decisions about exact cuts if Issue 1 fails. However, an operating levy is needed in order to stay solvent past the 2017-2018 school year. If Issue 1 were to fail in May, the District would have to go back on the ballot in November of 2017.
I don’t have kids in the District, why should I care about Issue 1?
Whether you have students in the District or not, the entire community benefits from a strong public school system. A High quality school district builds a stronger sense of community, improves home values, attracts new families and most importantly, develops and educates the youth of our community to prepare them for a successful future.