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Monroe school levy fails, district to re-evaluate

Post-press update: At its Feb. 22 meeting, the Monroe School Board will be asked to decide on scheduling a levy measure after the district produces a report on the pros and cons of pursuing a new levy, Acting Superintendent Kim Whitworth said at the Feb. 14 board meeting.
The public feels there is a lack of trust and lack of transparency, Whitworth said. The district wants to hear community concerns first before pulling the trigger on a levy for the April ballot. Feb. 25 is the deadline to place a measure on April's ballot.
The district can attempt no more than two tries to pass a ballot measure, school officials said. Febuary's ballot measure fell short of the required 50% passage rate.

MONROE — Voters last week did not pass an education levy renewal asked by Monroe Schools, as the measure was rejected by about 500 votes.
Acting Superintendent Kim Whitworth said the district will take a step back and re-evaluate.
“We know that many of our community members have strong concerns about the current state of the district,” Whitworth wrote in a community message. “As we plan for the future, we are committed to listening and reflecting on what we need to do to meet the expectations of our community.“
No decision has been made on putting a new levy on April’s ballot, district spokeswoman Tamara Krache said Feb. 9.
The school board has until Feb. 25 to put any measure on the April ballot. If not, the next election after is in August, right in the thick of finalizing the budget for the 2022-2023 school year.
A local levy that expires this year provides about 15%, or about $1 of every $7, of the district’s budget to bridge a funding gap for programs and services not covered with state dollars.
Without those dollars, cuts are necessary.
“If 15% of our budget was lost, the district would have some difficult decisions to make in order to present a balanced budget to the Board in August,” Krache told the Tribune before election day. “As a general rule, we try to keep the reductions as far away from the classroom as possible, but losing 15% of our budget would make that significantly harder and in most cases, impossible.”
The education levy pays for some teaching staff, additional counselors and nurses, extracurriculars, athletics and toward special education and highly capable programs.
The district is obligated to have certain programs such as special education services for children with disabilities, which is protected under state and federal law.
Voters approved Monroe’s last education levy request in 2018 with  53.6% in favor.
About 31% of voters participated in last week’s election.




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