The Poland Board of Education unanimously voted to place a new levy on the March 2012 ballot during a special meeting held the evening of Nov. 28 at Poland Seminary High School.
The emergency operating levy would generate nearly $1.5 million annually over a five-year period. The levy would be 3.8 mills, but after a 20-year bond issue of .8 mills expires that year, it would be a net 3.0 mills that Poland residents would pay beginning in 2013.
Poland Schools superintendent Dr. Robert Zorn acknowledged the potential challenge of getting voters to support the levy.
“No one likes tax increases,” he said.
However, he sought to remind residents that as of 2012, it will be nine years since the last schools levy was passed. During that same period, Poland has cut its budget by more than $5.2 million through wage freezes, retirement incentives, and cuts in equipment and supplies.
Zorn warned that, with additional state budget cuts in the works, the need for this levy is critical. Without its passage, he said students and parents could face reductions in foreign languages and busing, the elimination of elementary art and music, and the institution of pay-to-play for sports, as well as staff layoffs. Zorn said he hoped that Poland residents would recognize the tradition of excellence at Poland Schools, and the shame it would be to sustain such losses.
“I don’t see a way to get out of this financial situation by cuts alone,” Zorn said.
The next Poland Schools meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12 at North Elementary School.