One More Year Before Asking for a Levy

    For school districts across the state, the time has come to set levy amounts and prepare for the Trustees election on May 7.  The last day for board candidates to file to have their name on the ballot is Thursday, March 28th. A good trustee does not promote personal agendas or make decisions that benefit a select few, but instead fairly represents the community at large.  They genuinely want to make a positive difference for the school district and the community it serves. The Trustees play a vital role in the success of a school. Good people with common sense and a balanced approach are needed in just about every school district across the state.

    In Manhattan, two veteran trustees are again running for their board seats.  Chairman Rob Brownell and trustee Brand Robinson have both filed. At this time, they are the only two.  I really appreciate the time and energy both men have given the district in the time I have been here. It is very positive that they continue to want to serve the Manhattan students, families, and district.

    Last year at this time, we told our voters to expect us to ask for General Fund Levy support in 2019.  After sitting down in the business office and running numbers, we decided to recommend waiting one more year before we ask our voters to support a levy.  While our budgets are tight, I am comfortable with the thought that our district won’t go backwards if we wait one more year. Another reason to wait and run the levy in 2020 is a Building Reserve Levy in both the High School and Elementary will come off the tax rolls.  This was a key factor for me making the recommendation because it is not an increase on top of an existing tax.

    Finally, our enrollment financial gain has increased enough that we felt comfortable in waiting another year. At our March meeting, the Board of Trustees, passed with a unanimous vote to not run a General Fund levy election THIS YEAR.  I believe we all saw an opportunity to wait one more year before asking for levy support.   It will be six years, in 2020, since the board of trustees has asked for a General Fund levy vote.  I think that clearly demonstrates the respect the board and administration has for our tax payers.

    With that said, I do expect the district will need to ask for a General Fund levy in 2020.  In that time our percent Max Budget will dip below 95% in each district. This is avoided in the Superintendent world whenever possible.

    I greatly appreciate the support from our teachers in not running a levy. I am finishing my fourth year as Manhattan’s Superintendent and in that time I have never felt the teachers were making outlandish salary requests.  They have stood beside us in the financial journey and I respect that very much. Thank you teachers for being TEAM PLAYERS!

    Remember, General Fund Levies are for students, staff, and supplies and that Bonds are for buildings and large facility upgrades.  It is important to understand the difference. We have taken a very conservative approach for the last five years regarding levies because of the recently passed, much needed bond to expand and remodel our facilities.  

    We have a lot of good things happening at Manhattan Schools. Take a look at our website at www.rollontigers.org to see the variety of activities taking place.  Also, check out our Social Media Link on the school website for specific pages.  Feel free to email me a schauvet@mhstigers.org with your thoughts and interests.  

    Roll On Tigers,

    Scott Chauvet

    Superintendent Manhattan School District