At its December 2 meeting, the Lakewood City Schools Board of Education had the first reading of a resolution to proceed with the consideration of placing a 3.9 mill levy and 1 mill permanent improvement (PI) levy on the March 17, 2020 ballot. Due to responsible refinancing, sound financial practices, and property value growth, some of the District’s current debt service millage will be reduced, which allows the District to pursue this much-needed levy that will keep our funding stable.
This levy would result in a no new tax rate and would cost taxpayers less than $2 a month more than they currently pay, based on a property valuation of $100,000.
This reading represents the next step toward the levy appearing on the March ballot.
Funding from this levy would expand preschool; keep educational technology and other learning materials up-to-date; retain our high-quality teachers by paying them competitive salaries; add STEM offerings to prepare students in science, math, engineering and technology, and much more. The PI portion of the levy would protect our community’s previous investment by keeping all of our buildings, fields, vehicles, natatorium and other assets in good repair.
Lakewood City Schools has stretched its last operating levy for six years with staffing and operational efficiencies, reductions in long-term costs, and saving millions in future debt service costs through responsible refinancing. However, due to rising operational costs and State cuts to school funding, the District will start deficit spending in 2020. Because school districts are required by law to balance their budgets, the Board of Education determined it would be in the best interest of the District – and the educational excellence that residents expect – to return to the ballot.
Kent Zeman, Lakewood City Schools’ Treasurer, in November presented the Board with the District’s five-year financial forecast and various funding scenarios taking into account items such as state funding, property valuations, enrollment, and staffing. You can view that presentation here: https://tinyurl.com/tjxs3x7.