School levy renewal election likely this fall

District 194 may request additional funding

Lakeville Area School District 194 voters are likely to face another school funding decision this fall.

A 2007 $73 million annual levy renewal is anticipated to be on the ballot Nov. 7, which in today’s dollars costs $82 million ($8.2 million annually).

If the renewal is approved, it will not raise property taxes, according to the district.

It is also expected School Board members will add a question requesting additional funding, likely for improvements at the middle school level.

Board members, staff and middle school parents have spent months discussing a redesign at the middle level, and district parents regularly speak out for construction of a swimming pool at Century Middle School.

A Facilities Task Force that formed last year has also proposed adding a diving well at the Kenwood Trail Middle School pool and numerous other projects that include adding gym space at McGuire Middle School.

Michael Baumann, now the district’s executive director of business services, is negotiating his contract as the district’s next superintendent. He said middle school redesign is likely to cost about $2.1 million annually.

He said without a levy renewal, the district would have to cut $8.2 million from its budget.

It is expected the district will conduct a survey this spring to gauge public opinion before the School Board finalizes a levy referendum election decision.

State law requires the School Board vote on whether to hold an election and define the ballot questions by Aug. 25.

District 194 voters have approved since 2013 the last two requests that included three referenda totaling around $90 million over 10 years.

The voter-approved 2013 levy referendum helped reduce elementary class size and the successful 2015 levy election paid to reinstate elementary art and fifth-grade band, added STEM programming and increased options at the high school level.