by Interim Superintendent Mitch Wainwright
Next week, voters will be heading to the polls to vote on a variety of issues, and for a wide range of offices for state and federal representation. Closer to home, there are two referendum questions that will impact the taxpayers of the Mineral Point Unified School District. During the last month, we have sent home flyers, held two Open Houses, wrote columns for The Democrat Tribune and online blogs about the need for the referendum questions, met with at least 15 groups or organizations within the District boundaries, and posted answers to questions on the school website and social media.
I would like to thank the community members who attended or invited me to reach out and meet. I sat around kitchen tables, ate lunch at local restaurants, met during your evening meetings, and tried to get out to meet with as many of you that wanted to meet. Every audience was always willing to listen and asked very good questions about the needs of the school district. It was reaffirming to hear so many different groups speak so well of our school system. No matter what the outcome, I know there is a great deal of support for our students in this community, and for that I am thankful.
During the public engagement process, I hope I have explained the space concerns at the elementary and the need to update the building are real. Education has changed and will continue to change. Referendum question number one on the ballot is asking for permission to fund an $11.92 million remodel and addition to the school.
The other issue we have communicated is the need to continue to support the education for each and every child that walks through our doors. We have been cutting budgets and, most recently, cut over $300,000 to balance this year’s budget. Cuts were made to educational programing that supports all learners, technology needed to meet state testing obligations, and deferred maintenance to our current buildings. This money is spent throughout the district and is not tied to the elementary building. Question number two on the ballot is asking for your permission to increase the revenue limit by $350,000 per year on a recurring basis.
At the October 22 School Board meeting, the Board certified two tax levies, one if the building referendum is successful and one if it fails. The good news for taxpayers is, even with a successful building referendum, the mill rate for 2018-19 would drop to $11.33, down from $12.09 last year.
If you have any last-minute questions, please do not hesitate to reach out either by phone at 987-0740, or email at email@example.com. You can also check out our referendum website at https://mineralpointschools.org/referendum/ for additional information.
No matter what the outcome is next Tuesday, please take the time to vote. There are always opportunities to educate our children, and using your right to vote is a great example for future generations. Use your voice and help us shape the direction of Mineral Point education!