MONMOUTH-ROSEVILLE SEEKS SOLUTIONS TO DEFICIT
By Emily Friedrich
The problem has reached a boiling point and now is the time to act. Those were the sentiments of Tim Tibbetts, Chairperson of the Deficit Reduction Committee of Monmouth-Roseville School District.
Tibbetts told the relatively calm crowd of about 100 people at Monday evening’s public meeting that, “The results of poor education are borne by all members of society. We all have a responsibility to keep good education going in our area.” The school district could face a whopping $1.4 million short fall next year if the state cuts aide by nine percent, which is expected.
Tibbetts presented the crowd with various models the committee will propose to the school board on Feb. 25. The goal of the forum was to inform the community of the process and receive public input. Superintendent Paul Woehlke said the public will be able to express ideas and opinions directly to the school board at a meeting before Feb. 25, though a date has not been set.
Some in the crowd advanced the idea of raising local income and property taxes. Tibbetts replied it would be a long shot for the city to approve such an increase. Monmouth-Roseville High School Principal Jeff Bryan, voiced the same sentiment, “It’s not just as simple as that because as you raise the amount of taxes you collect, you also decrease the amount of foundation funding you get from the state. It’s a sliding scale, so you don’t actually realize all the tax you assess.”
A few high school students expressed their disappointment with the situation. Senior Kelsey Ault is worried about her two younger siblings in the district. “I have a brother that’s in seventh grade and I have a sister that’s in fourth grade. I would like them to both be able to go into the programs that they want. With the way the school is heading, my brother will not be able to get his sports programs in,” Ault said.
The proposals presented at the meeting included reducing funds across the board for extracurricular activities, academics and a four day school week. But the only solution that came close to reducing the deficit enough to eliminate the 1.4 million dollar shortfall seemed to be to close Harding and Willis Elementary schools and reassign those students to Lincoln.