Lakeville Area School District to seek $5.6 million levy

Board set to approve levy amount July 9

Lakeville Area School District voters will be asked to approve a $5.6 million operating levy in a special election Nov. 5.

The funding amounts to $540 per pupil and would result in a net property tax increase of $169  annually for the average $230,000 home, according to the district.

School Board members agreed during a June 28 workshop to ask for a 10-year levy that would adjust for inflation, as have previous levy questions.

If approved, funds generated from the levy would be used to stabilize the district budget, maintain current programming, and reduce class sizes with a focus on grades 3-5 across the system in core content areas.

Based on community feedback, the board also directed some of the funds be used to introduce more science, technology, engineering and math classes.

The board will consider a resolution setting the levy at this amount at its July 9 meeting.

Although some community members have encouraged the district to seek a second levy question that asks for money to reinstate lost programs like fifth-grade band and elementary art, the board expressed concern about asking voters for more than district research has shown voters are likely to pass.

Board Member Michelle Volk said she did not want the levy referendum to appear as an “overreach.” Board Member Jim Skelly described this levy as one that focuses on turning the district around and setting it on the right path.

“We’re kind of at this crossroads now,” Skelly said. “Instead of cutting and reducing, we’re kind of prioritizing and moving in that direction of STEM.”

Board Member Judy Keliher agreed, adding that they cannot make up for all the years voters have rejected a new levy in one year.

If the levy does pass, funds it would generate would not be available until the 2014-15 school year.

Superintendent Lisa Snyder called the levy referendum “critical” for the district to turn a corner and “start back on a positive path where we can build on our success and our quality and move forward.”