7 Things to Know by April 7-#2

7 Things to Know by April 7-#2
Posted on 02/08/2020
7 Things to Know by April 7-#2"Why isn’t the District paying for the proposed projects out of their regular budget?"
From: Clinton School District Superintendent, Destry Brown

As the Clinton School District approaches the April 7th No-Tax Increase Bond issue, our goal is to provide transparency as well as answers to essential questions that you, the voter, might have in regards to this ballot measure.

A question some people may have is, “Why isn’t the District paying for the proposed projects out of their regular budget?”. This is a great question, and I am hopeful that this second part of our 7-part series will provide clarity on this topic.

Just like families need to borrow money in the form of a mortgage to finance the purchase or construction of a home, a school district borrows money in the form of bonds to fund capital projects. Many families are not able to pay for major renovations or repairs to their homes. So they borrow money in order to do those things. This same concept also applies to school districts. Schools simply do not have the financial resources available to pay for large capital projects, such as renovating, improving or building schools, without borrowing money in the form of bonds.

If the Clinton School District were to try and address the identified safety, renovation and infrastructure projects, the District would be required to allocate general operating funds to address the most critical issues. Some of the items have large costs associated with them (ie, replacing 20+ year old HVAC systems and remodeling the elementary and intermediate schools to provide more secure entrances for our students and staff). Allocating money from the general operating fund would have a significant impact on the money available for classroom instruction, teachers, staff, and supplies.

That said, the Board has worked to address many smaller facility updates and renovations from available money designated for those purposes. On average, the school district budgets $100,000 each year for these smaller projects such as some of the renovations at the Clinton Early Childhood Center. We have also been fortunate to be able to access grant money and donations to support this work, like the remodeling of the Clinton Middle School Family and Consumer Science classroom. An insurance claim from the hail storm last year is paying for roof repairs and re-coatings at each building.

Many districts actually assess an additional levy to fund repairs and renovations. The Clinton District does not have such a levy. The Board is committed to not assessing additional levies to the taxpayers of Clinton; especially after the passage of the bond issue to build the new high school. So, when the district needs to make large repairs and renovations, we try to access money that we can raise without affecting taxpayer pocketbooks through a no-tax increase bond issue.

The passage of the no-tax increase bond on April 7th will allow the district to access funds to address some of the larger safety and renovation needs, while also being able to ensure that it can maintain its current level of programming for our students.

I am hopeful that this has helped to add some clarity about a school District’s budget and the funding of large capital projects. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 660-885-2237.
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