Kearns and Sons RS Aesthetics

Victor school levy fails, teachers bite the bullet

By Michael Howell

Voters in the Victor School District rejected a proposed general operating levy that would have raised about $196,000 for the school’s General Fund. Just to keep the current programs going, the district was facing an annual budget deficit of about $80,000, according to Superintendent Lance Pearson. He said a big part of the shortfall was in covering increased costs of health benefits. He said this year the cost of the employee benefit program went up 14%.

The levy was soundly defeated at the polls by a vote of 703 to 396.

Pearson said that once the levy was rejected, “the teachers’ union stepped up and took the hit.” He said the teachers were going to absorb the brunt of the shortfall by covering the entire 14% raise in health benefit costs.

“One weird thing, though,” said Pearson, “is that I never got any negative feedback about the levy request from anybody, but they didn’t want it. Apparently we were not well plugged in to the voters.”

Results of all the local school district elections are on page A2. However, the Hamilton School District is running a bond and levy election on Thursday, May 25 in conjunction with the federal election to fill the unexpired term in the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition to choosing between candidates Republican Greg Gianforte, Democrat Rob Quist and Libertarian Mark Wicks, voters in Precincts 4-9 (Hamilton school district) are being asked to approve a $9.75 million bond “for the purpose of providing funds to pay the costs of addressing deficient school facilities and infrastructure in connection with a plan to consolidate District facilities, including relocating the sports facility on the Westview Elementary School campus currently known as Haynes Field to the Hamilton High School campus and designing, constructing, equipping, and furnishing on the Hamilton High School campus a replacement sports facility consisting of football and track fields, bleachers, concessions, restrooms, and associated

improvements, including if bond proceeds are available, tennis courts, and on the Daly Elementary School campus as a part of the school facilities consolidation plan adding new classrooms and renovating existing classrooms, adding a new gymnasium, upgrading the kitchen, making general school building improvements, such as upgrading and/or replacing heating and ventilation systems, and if bond proceeds are available, building a library addition; and related improvements and costs.

The school district is also asking for a tax levy increase “to support

the general fund in the amount of $400,000 which is approximately 17.90 mills for the purpose of the operation and maintenance of the district. Passage of this proposal will increase the taxes on a home with a market value of $100,000 by approximately $24.17 per year and on a home with a market value of $200,000 by approximately $48.33 per year. The durational limit of the levy is permanent once approved by the voters, assuming the district levies that amount at least once in the next five years.”

Polls will be open Thursday, May 25 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. For this election only, voters in Precincts 4-9 (Hamilton school district) will vote in the Floral/Commercial Building at the Ravalli County Fairgrounds, 100 Old Corvallis Road in Hamilton. Voters in all other precincts vote at the usual polling places.

 

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