Thursday, November 11, 2010

Superintendent's Corner #3

This message is from Mr. Wagner, HCHS's superintendent. It is a feature that appears in the Harlan Tribune every so often.

In keeping with the spirit of the previous two editions of the superintendent’s corner, I’d like to start to drill a bit deeper on the topic of the upcoming PPEL and ISL levy renewals. Quickly recapping the previous comments, there are three main takeaways from those editions. 1). Both of these levies are not new, rather they have been in place since 2001 and 2002 respectively. 2). The approximately $1.1 million dollars generated by these levies are very important to the school district. Last year, 36 positions and $2.2 million dollars were cut from the district’s budget, intensifying the importance of these monies generated by the PPEL and ISL. 3). We strongly encourage folks to go out and vote. The only items on the ballot on December 7th will be PPEL and ISL.

Ok, so we’ve recapped some basic information concerning PPEL and ISL and now let’s try and get a bit deeper without confusing folks as this topic can get extremely complex. Outside of the obvious benefits of the $1.1 million generated from the two levies, there are some additional benefits to the district if both of these levies are renewed. Currently we have funds tied up that must be placed in reserves to ensure we have the means to pay off some existing debt within the district. Once the levies are renewed, these monies are no longer required by law to be restricted because the monies generated through the renewal will be adequate to pay off this debt in the future. For example, if you have ever rented a property, there likely has been a deposit you need to put down before moving in. The deposit ensures you respect the property and at the end of the lease the property will be released back in the same condition as it was received. This would result in receiving your deposit back. This essentially is the case with some of the existing debt the school district has. If the levies pass, it would be like returning our deposit. In addition, these levies would assist us in replacing dollars lost due to the decrease in enrollment we have incurred this year and help slow potential further reductions in people and programs going forward.

I was speaking to a senior the other day and we were discussing these levies as this senior is old enough to vote and I thought his words were worth mentioning. After taking some time to explain the situation and the importance of the levies, he quickly quipped, “it appears to me that ultimately the real winners or losers in this are the students”. I tried to deflect the statement, so as not to put undue pressure on any one group, but he was correct. Keeping in mind the students in this conversation is important as well. Educating students at the level of excellence we’ve come to expect is why we do what we do and why this election is so important. Thank you.

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