Fairmont Area Schools are again asking residents to vote for an increase in property taxes to help balance the budget and this time they say situation is dire as ever.
If a levy doesn't pass this November, the district will eliminate funding for all sports and co–curricular programs, and 8.5 teachers.
If November's levy doesn't pass, teacher Molly Blees' job and the elementary music program will not be coming back next year.
Superintendent Joe Brown says, "We have cut, cut, cut, and cut, for the past 4 years we have cut and now we are at the basic part of the program."
Brown says all programs not mandated by law like elementary art, PE, and high school vocational electives are all on the chopping block—along with funding for all sports and co–curricular—totaling over $750,000.
Brown says, "If we kept those programs here without additional funding we would be deficit spending and I will not deficit spend."
The district will also implement a shortened school day for all K–12 students.
Brown says, "We simply aren't going to have enough faculty and staff to staff up for seven hours a day."
The school district is asking voters to increase the current learning levy from $500 per student to $950, which would increase the average household's property taxes around $100 a year.
Resident Susan Naumman says, "Being a former teacher I understand that classrooms have had to cut and cut and cut, I mean teachers are out their buying their own pencils."
Naumman says she will vote for the levy, but she is also a retiree so the idea of increasing her property taxes is worrisome.
Naumman says, "That is many, many, many dollars they are talking about cutting, I mean is that money we don't have?"
Browns says these cuts are a hard, but there is no other option.
Brown says, "This is not a very positive proposal, but we need to be honest with people. I cannot pay for these programs next year because we don't have the money."
If the levy is passed on November 6 all of the programs will be reinstated and funded for the next school year.
Brown says, "If the levy doesn't pass, the decision has already been made."
Every property owner in the district will soon be receiving an informational packet about the levy and the district will hold information and listening sessions throughout the month.
You're invited to come to The Budd Room at Fairmont Elementary on:
-Monday, Oct. 15, 6-7 p.m.
-Saturday, Oct. 20, 9-10 a.m.
-Monday, Oct. 22, 10-11 a.m.
or the Ceylon City Hall, Thursday, October 25th, 6-7 p.m.