Salisbury Debates School Levy
A public meeting Monday night gave the community a chance to ask questions. Some residents said the levy, scheduled for a vote next month, is not needed. But the school superintendent says the funding increase is necessary to keep the school system operating.
"We're asking for $1.83 and that's about a fifty percent increase. And that amount comes from what we think it's going to cost to operate three years from now," Superintendent Todd Willhite said.
Following the restructuring of a school funding formula set by the state, as well as a decline in enrollment, the Salisbury schools need help.
"We're losing student enrollment, we're averaging 22 students a year that we're losing and funding is based on students, so as our student enrollment goes down, the amount of state aid we get goes down," Willhite said.
With less state aid available, the district must now turn toward local property owners. Although school administrators are in support of the levy, some in the community are wondering why such a large increase is necessary.
"I would like to know where the money is going, because they are getting federal money, they're getting federal grants for the different programs," resident Susie Brockman said.
School officials say federal and state funding are not enough.
"To maintain the school exactly where they are, it's gonna take $1.83 and if they don't want the school to continue like it is, and they vote against $1.83, then something in the school is gonna have to change, but the levy issue will come again," Willhite said.
The issue is being hotly debated by community members. The superintendent is trying to inform residents as to what everything means. Organizers hope Monday's public meeting will help clear up some questions.