After a narrow loss in an election held in August 2015, the Seymour R-II School District will place a tax levy on the ballot on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
This one will ask voters for a 75-cent increase, which would increase the district’s operating levy from its current $2.75 per $100 of assessed valuation to $3.50.
The decision to place a levy on the November ballot came at the Aug. 8 meeting of the Seymour R-II Board of Education, where members unanimously voted in favor of placing the issue before district voters in November.
“It’s not a matter of want, it’s a matter of need,” Superintendent Steve Richards said of the 75-cent levy increase, which would generate an estimated $400,000 to $425,000 of additional annual revenue.
“If passed, the increased levy will allow us to do a lot of things that are needed for our district ... not just now but also into the future.”
Four years ago, district voters declined a 50-cent levy increase by a margin of 338 to 317, only 21 votes short of passage.
Richards is optimistic this levy bump will pass.
“I do feel the community understands the fi nancial issues that we are facing now and in the future,” he said.
“Again, this isn’t a levy increase just for the sake of having one. There is a need for additional local contribution for the benefit of our students.”
He added that the community will be a part of the process.
“We had a meeting on Friday with several leaders of the Seymour community, and those leaders are in the process of building a committee that will help determine our district’s greatest needs, as well as passing information to the public on the levy,” Richards explained.
The purpose of the levy?
“The proposed ballot language explains it best,” Richards said. “The revenue generated by the additional 75 cents will be used to fully fund school programs, to cover needed student school supplies, to retain qualified staff, both certified and non-certified, to fund maintenance needs and for future building projects and repairs.
“This truly is an investment in our future.”
A simple majority is needed for the issue to pass.
“In neighboring communities to ours, such as Fordland, Mansfield, Marshfield and even Rogersville, school patrons have passed bond issues or levy increases in recent years that are higher than the increase we’re proposing,” Richards concluded.
“We’re only asking for an amount that we genuinely need to ensure our school can meet its needs, not anything more than that.”