ADRIAN - As the planning stages of an anticipated November Adrian School District operating referendum continue to progress, a pre-voter survey is now available online.
In a dual attempt to gather stakeholders’ perceptions and to inform voters of the school district’s future needs, the board of education is requesting that stakeholders take the online survey. Paper copies may be requested by contacting the district office at (507) 483-2266.
Adrian school board members continued their discussion related to its proposed three-question ballot during Monday’s regular meeting.
While the ballot questions have yet to be finalized, the district plans to ask voters to renew the current operating referendum of $379.26 per adjusted pupil unit that was approved 10 years ago.
“Our needs are greater than that,” said Adrian Superintendent Roger Graff of the board’s plan to ask district residents to also consider increases to its per-pupil operating referendum.
Questions two and three are related to financing future facility and technology needs that are expected to exceed what’s covered by state funding.
Question two will likely ask voters to approve an additional $363 per APU to cover an expected $2.25 million budget shortfall for long-term facilities repair and maintenance during the next decade. The estimated shortfall was determined as part of a recent facility study conducted by ICS Consulting.
The basis for question three’s additional $81 per APU is an estimated $50,000 in annual technology costs and improvements for the next 10 years.
District residents will not experience a difference in their current taxes should the operating renewal be approved, Graff said.
According to information shared on the district’s survey, farmland is tax-exempt for operating referendum levies. The house, garage and one acre of agricultural homestead land are taxed for residents who live on a farm in the district.
Graff called the planned upcoming operating referendum similar to last year’s, which failed by a 518 “no” to 341 “yes” vote. The key differences between the two are that voters will have the opportunity to vote on three separate questions related to identified needs rather than one lump sum. The district is also utilizing and sharing information from its facilities study on the survey to better inform residents of its financial need.
“We’re hoping that with the public having that additional information that we’ll have all three questions pass,” Graff said.
During Monday’s meeting, board member Les Madison asked if each question could be independent of the others. Other board members seemed to agree, and Graff said he’d ask the attorney whether that was feasible.
Graff told board members the deadline to finalize ballot questions is August, but he’d like to have it approved at the board’s July meeting.
“If nothing gets passed … we’re going to have to start looking at some very painful reductions,” Graff said.
The next regular Adrian Board of Education meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. July 15 in the District Conference Room.