With the state budget bottoming out and school district rainy day funds drying up, many districts around our state are dependent upon levy dollars. Districts can ask their local property owners to pony up for two, three, or four years of funding. The four-year option is a recent addition to the mix and is very popular because it means having to run a levy less often.
A couple of weeks ago, I had lunch with a friend in the local district I once called my home. A program he's involved in was on the list for the latest levy. The district told voters that if the levy passed, the program would stay...if not, it would be cut. The levy passed. What did the district tell my friend? That was a different story. They told him that his program was safe for next year and probably the following year, but after that, the voters would have forgotten what had been promised and he could be cut. He went from being the levy poster child to being told he's headed for the trash heap in days.
Wow. As a teacher, what do you say to that? Kind of a political nightmare. On one hand, there's no use pointing it out to the district leadership, because they're the ones telling you they think the voters aren't too bright. And, on the other, if you tell the voters they're being played, it will be the kids who lose out in the end as budgets are slashed.
He has some time to figure this out. His job and program are safe for now and it will be nearly four years until there is another levy vote. In the meantime, he and many others are hoping the school board will wake up and smell the need for new leadership.