Levy Set For 3.9 Mill, McKinley To Be Liquidated - Possibly
Superintendent Jeff Patterson will be asking the Board to start the process to put a 3.9 mill levy on the ballot this spring.
He will also be asking the Board to place McKinley Elementary up for possible sale soon.
The sale of McKinley will lead the Levy as it takes a little more of a process to get the Levy approved, voted on, approved by the state, and onto the ballot. "We could not wait any longer and still have any hope of getting it on the spring ballot," Patterson said. "This will help make up for the shortfall from the sate and taxes over recent years and should provide us with enough to look at some programs we dropped or other ideas." Jeff went on to explain, with a levy will come lots of expectations some deserved some not. "Our teachers and the union have been more than fair to us over recent years, and we appreciate that." However anyone would wonder how long the union can go without asking for something.
When I asked about a pending Bond issue Jeff honestly said, we will need another Bond Issue to finish the schools, and we have to finish the schools to get the 31% that is owed to us from the state-- roughly $50 million dollars. On top of the money to finish the schools, the State School Construction Committee will also ask to see at least 1% of the total cost added to the bond to help maintain them.
It seems to me a very cruel trick the State is playing with communities, as the State leads them off on these pathways that only pay MAYBE, based on a number that changes year-to-year. When I mentioned this to Superintendent Patterson he said, "Many communities cannot pass bond issues, so they will fall in ranking and we should rise up probably high enough that we will be on the list to be paid." I again mentioned it has to be tough to go back to the well, and hope the state picks us for the bill they owe and decided to pay, balance a levy, run the schools, and keep a smile. Patterson merely showed me a beaming smile.
Not to bore everyone with details, but the Superintendent and I went through many, many different ways to finance things, and discussed different ways levies could be structured. With each way, he could point out the good and bad in them, and he had looked at those and many, many more, in the end, the District will ask for a simple levy, not one that builds in stages, or one of the many other ways they can be put together. "Jim, this is the fairest way we can put a levy out there," Patterson said, "easy to understand, easy to implement, especially if we have done our job and the voters appreciate the hard work we have done to this point."
The sale of McKinley School will be more difficult and possibly more dire in its outcome. The school has recently been appraised at $1.7 million and while the Board looked at the possibility of tearing it down to get around state law they found out that it would only add to their bottom line, paying for the demolition and still having to offer it to any charter school in the community, or any charter school willing to come in and serve the community. In my opinion, this could be a disaster, not because of the competition, but the money that could be drained from the levy to help pay for kids going to the charter school.
As the school has not yet been stripped of asbestos, it will be costly for anyone to come in and purchase it.
If the school does not sell to any charter school for a fair asking price, it can then go out to bid and there seems to be some interest on that side. It is rumored that a couple developers have gone through it expressing an interest. One is Andrew Brickman from Abode Living (Eleven River and Clifton Pointe). When I spoke with Andrew last week as was reported earlier, he said, "It is an interesting piece of property and of course I have an interest in it, Lakewood is really coming together and has been good for Abode Living, but there is still much to discuss and look at."
All of this and more will be discussed at the School Board meeting January 22nd.