I will be voting NO for Morgan County School District voted local levy and this is why:
At the May 30 town hall meeting held to discuss the proposed voted local levy, the panel and concerned residents brought to light the following facts: (1) mismanagement of funds is the major cause of this current school budget predicament; (2) alternatives to a levy have not be sufficiently explored. The school board is focusing all its efforts on this voted local levy. It had the option to elect a more conservative tax increase, but instead elected the maximum rate; (3) a proposal to the school board to allow a task force to provide oversight and professional counsel has been ignored; (4) bonds were not refinanced during favorable conditions; (5) Morgan School District loses out on and fails to secure government funding and programs enjoyed by other county school districts; (6) increased property taxes will discourage new businesses in Morgan County for years to come, which has been espoused as one major remedy to the problem; (7) teacher salaries and budgets are in line with the rest of Utah’s counties; and (8) although a member of the school board stated the opposite, Utah’s public schools will see the largest funding increase in years under the terms of a revised budget that unanimously passed the House and Senate in March.
I see this proposed voted local levy as an effort to replace misappropriated funds and would result in an unmerited long-lived tax burden. It would be permanent and property taxes would continue to escalate. In hindsight more of us should have been watching how our tax money was being spent and participating to circumvent unwise building decisions. We did not and now here we are, but there remain other remedies left largely unexplored.
Vote NO and this is what it can do:
(1) Force the school board to address their budget constraints as all other boards, agencies, businesses and families are also forced to do; (2) encourage the school board to seek professional counsel and guidance with issues requiring sound judgment; (3) cause the board to identify and pursue government funding opportunities other county boards are able to secure; (4) necessitate creative attempts to seek outside funds and volunteers; and (5) maintain a tax-friendly environment in which new businesses can thrive and contribute to the local economy.
This is not about the inability to function within a tight budget. It can be done and is the exact reason the House and Senate recently revised budgets upwards. This is about a situation caused by an overly-indulgent environment, mismanaged funds and what appears to be a lackadaisical attitude when it comes to finding solutions that take more effort than simply reaching into our wallets.
Nearly every week there is an article in the Morgan County News regarding how well the students are doing in our communities (without this levy). Apparently the kids are adjusting, as we all are trying to do, to tight budgets and tough times just fine. Most are excelling. The loss of a program or a teacher is very unfortunate. However those losses are no different than losses experienced by everyone in life and should not be used to dissuade taxpayers from voting against the levy.
It is easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission. If this local voted levy is passed for the next five years. permission will not be asked. We will all be begged again and again for forgiveness as this school board increases our property taxes. The current system works and coffers will be replenished without this levy.
Another Town Meeting has been scheduled for June 20. Hopefully this meeting will be relocated to an area large enough for the attendees and be held long enough for comments! (Perhaps the new recreation center?)