Monroe County voted Tuesday to keep additional funding in schools for extracurricular activities and funding for staff in schools.
Monroe County Community Schools Corporation will receive continued funding after passing a tax referendum last Tuesday.
Lynn Coyne, one of the three chairs for the YesforMCCSC referendum campaign, said the current referendum expires Dec. 31. It will go into effect Jan. 1.
The referendum will be on the state tax bills, this time at a lower rate of 11.5 cents of $100. The previous rate was 14 cents of $100.
He said if it did not pass the school corporation would lose $7.5 million from its budget, lay off teachers and get rid of extra-curricular activities.
“The taxes actually went down, and that tax rate will go down moving forward for the next six years,” Coyne said. “That was why it was so important.”
He said despite a lack of knowledge about the referendum, one of its greatest challenges during its campaign, the community chose to renew it.
He said this was different from the awareness level during the first referendum, when funds were cut rapidly in 2009.
“That was the crux of our challenge with this particular referendum,” Coyne said. “Everyone was aware at that moment in 2009 that it was a dire situation and action needed to take place.”
The Monroe County Community Schools Corporation released a thank-you to community members for renewing the referendum.
“On behalf of all our students and staff, thank you, Monroe County Community families and patrons, for continuing the referendum that provides staff members, support and opportunities for students,” the district released in their statement.
Sue Wanzer, Monroe County Community Schools Corporation school board member for District 2, said she had been pretty confident the referendum would pass, due to the hundreds of volunteers and leaders running the campaign. She said she believes the community is going in the right direction, with a large majority voting for the renewal.
“With 81 percent, that’s amazing,” Wanzer said, “It reaffirms for me that this community does understand the importance of public education.”
She said the renewal will allow the district to continue business as usual for the most part, but it will also directly affect the artful learning initiatives at Fairview Elementary School and the science, technology, engineering and mathetmatics program at Grandview Elementary School.
She said these programs will get a major boost from the referendum.
“I’m expecting those two programs to really develop and attract more students into those schools.” Wanzer said.
With the challenge of the referendum passed, Wanzer said the school board is looking ahead now to making sure all students feel safe in their schools post-election.
She said the district has done pretty well with an overall comprehensive program and cultural competency, but she also wants to work on public engagement and transparency in the community.
“There seems to be so much of an increase in bias incidents and harassment of our marginalized peoples,” Wanzer said. “Things have happened after this election and things we have to deal with right now in our schools so that every kid feels comfortable in their learning environment.”