|
Milford Beacon
  • FOLLOW UP: Milford School District referendum set for next week

  • The Milford School District is pursuing a two-fold referendum on March 26 that will ask residents to vote in favor of a bond issuance to fund a new middle school as well as a property tax increase to supplement its $2.1 million yearly operating budget.
    • email print
  • »  RELATED CONTENT
  • THE ISSUE
    The Milford School District is pursuing a two-fold referendum on March 26 that will ask residents to vote in favor of a bond issuance to fund a new middle school as well as a property tax increase to supplement its $2.1 million yearly operating budget.
    Milford Middle School, an historic 84-year-old building, closed to students in June due to a need for major renovations, including issues with the roof, heating system and brick façade. Middle school students currently attend classes at the Milford Central Academy and ninth grade students have been shifted to Milford High School to make space for the younger students.
    A school tax increase is sought to fund the district’s $2.1 million operating budget in order to keep current programs running, maintain current staffing levels and meet the Milford School District Board of Education’s minimum requirement to keep 5 percent of the total budget in reserves at all times, which comes out to $2.5 million currently.
     
    WHAT WE’VE REPORTED
    Earlier this year, Gov. Jack Markell included Milford School District’s request for state funding for a new middle school in his recommended budget. The full project, which is slated to cost a total of $44,614,900, will be mostly funded by the state. The state will cover 71 percent of the project, and the remaining $12,938,300 would be generated by bond issuance to be repaid through a proposed tax increase over a three-year period that would diminish after the 20-year bond is repaid. The tax increase is based on an individual home owner’s assessed property values.
    The $2.1 million operating budget, if approved in next week’s referendum, would result in an increase of the average home owner’s school taxes by $94.36 yearly, in addition to the tax increases sought to fund the middle school rebuild.
     
    WHAT’S NEXT
    Voting will take place on March 26 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Banneker Elementary School, Lulu M. Ross Elementary School and Evelyn L. Morris Early Childhood Center. Voters must be 18 with proper identification to prove Milford residence.
    The district will hold one more informational community meeting tonight at 6 p.m. at Milford High School.
    If residents do not approve the district’s proposed tax increase for its operating budget, according to community presentations by Milford School District Superintendent Phyllis Kohel, the district may face staff cuts, a freeze in raises, cuta in building budgets, cut backs on sports as well as cutbacks or eliminations of tuition reimbursement programs.
    If neither referendum issue passes, the district will continue to work toward the project by pursuing another referendum, which requires a wait-period of six months, said Board of Education President Marvin Schelhouse.
    Page 2 of 2 - “This is serious, I can’t over emphasize the importance of this passing,” Schelhouse said. “It has to pass or it’s going to have a tremendous impact on the education of children. We’ve never faced this before. Right now we’re optimistic it’s going to pass and if that doesn’t happen, then over time we’re going to have to make some tough decisions.”

        calendar