Alden-Conger prepares for referendum on operating levy

Published 10:23 am Friday, November 1, 2013

ALDEN — The Alden-Conger Public School is asking its taxpayers for an increase in local funding.

The measure will be on Tuesday’s ballot and will ask voters to revoke an existing referendum of about $600 per pupil and to approve a new referendum of $930 per pupil.

Superintendent Brian Grenell said for a home with a market value of about $75,000 taxes would increase about $140 a year.

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“We have a quality program and good teachers,” Grenell said. “We just want to maintain and improve.”

Grenell, who has been with the district since July 1, 2012, said when he started at Alden-Conger the district was in debt about $1 million, had been borrowing and was on statutory operating debt. With some cuts, including one staff person in the administrative office, Grenell said the district is working its way out of debt. He guessed the district still owes around $600,000.

“Five years from now we’ll be looking very, very good,” Grenell said. “We’re getting out of it, but slowly.”

Grenell said a new voter-approved levy would help the district get out of debt, stabilize its finances and maybe help it to offer more college classes or vocational classes.

“If it passes, we can take a look at ordering textbooks and things like that,” Grenell said. “If it doesn’t pass, we could be looking at more cuts.”

Grenell said the district has at least half of its students through open enrollment, and he said the school must have quality programs and other reasons to draw people to the district.

“If we don’t maintain quality programs and teachers you might as well shut it down,” Grenell said. “We want to maintain and improve and make sure we continue to exist.”

Alden-Conger’s current operating levy does not expire this year, but Grenell said the district wants to take advantage of some new state aid so they’re going out a year early to voters.

“If you go out this year, your aid is based on this year’s laws,” Grenell said. “So if we go out this year, and it passes we get an additional $39,000 in state aid.”

Alden-Conger school board chairman Doug Johnson said many school districts across the state are struggling with the amount of state aid they are getting.

“We are in statutory operating debt, but even if we weren’t in that we would still be going for a referendum,” Johnson said. “Any time you make cuts in a school you’re hurting the education of the kids.”

Johnson said he knows the community supports the school and has supported referendums in the past. Johnson said he hasn’t heard anyone say anything negative about the referendum yet. He hopes that no matter how voters feel, they will get out and be sure to cast their ballot.

“Whenever you do a referendum you get the feel of your constituents,” Johnson said. “Whether people are in support or not, we really encourage them to get out and vote.”

District administrators held community meetings in both Alden and Conger. A meeting was held in Conger on Oct. 23 and another meeting was held in Alden on Monday. Grenell said a newsletter was sent out to local residents, too.


Polling place

When: noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5

Where: Alden-Conger School


Ballot question

The board of Independent School District No. 242 (Alden-Conger Public School) has proposed to revoke the school district’s existing referendum revenue authorization of $606.71 per pupil and to replace that authorization with a new authorization of $930 per pupil. The proposed new referendum revenue authorization would be applicable for ten years unless otherwise revoked or reduced as provided by law.

Shall the increase in revenue proposed by the board of Independent School District No. 242 be approved?

– Yes

– No

By voting “yes” on this ballot question, you are voting for a property tax increase.