Maple School Board votes to place referendum on April ballot
The voters in the Maple school district have a decision to make in April.
The Maple School Board last week unanimously approved placing an operational referendum on the April 3 ballot.
Voters will be asked: "Would you support a $582,000 operational referendum to maintain current programs, services, retain quality staff and $25,000 for technology education (shop) equipment updating for each of the next three years?"
The referendum is being placed on the ballot to close the gap on a projected $1.7 million budget shortfall over the next five years.
The question was developed with the help of a survey of district residents to evaluate what the community may support as the district faces declining revenue resulting from declining enrollment, reductions in state aid and state-mandated tax levy caps.
About 19 percent of school district residents — 1,032 — responded to the survey, which revealed about 75 percent of school district residents have no children attending Maple schools and do not work for the district, a majority of which would be needed to approve the school district's referendum.
According to the survey, only 26 percent of that demographic said they would approve a $576,000 operational referendum. The only question the non-parent demographic supported by a majority — 51 percent — was $30,000 per year to enhance the district's industrial education and shop courses.
Their top options for cutting costs included increasing the student fee schedule, reducing athletics and activities and increasing middle and high school class sizes.
Over the last 10 years, the Maple school district has trimmed $3.7 million by eliminating early retirement contributions, increasing class sizes, reducing money allocated to buildings and grounds, school buses and more.