Marysville News

Budget contingency plan

Levy failure would mean loss of jobs, higher fees

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Marysville schools Superintendent Diane Mankins presented the school board with $3 million worth of budget cuts she said will be necessary if voters reject the district's 9-mill continuous levy on the May ballot.

The plan includes the loss of 46.5 staff jobs and 75 supplemental contracts; dropping middle school sports, freshman sports, one assistant coach for every high school sport; and doubling pay-to-participate fees from $200 to $400 per sport.

Between 2008 and last November, the district made cuts totaling $6.9 million in savings, she said. Since the failure of a November school levy, the administration had to find another $2.3 million worth of cuts, bringing the total number of budget reductions since 2008 to $9.2 million.

Mankins said dropping high school busing as a way to save money would be impractical. Because of the provisions in House Bill 59, the Marysville school district receives more than $34,500 from the state, based on high school student population, Mankins said. Busing high school students currently costs $30,000 so dropping high school busing would actually cause the district to lose $4,500.

Other community suggestions were to close Raymond Elementary, home to 250 students. Mankins said regardless of whether the building is occupied, it would cost the district approximately $100,000 annually to cover sewer and water bills to keep the pipes from bursting. Demolishing the building is not an option until 2029, when bonds currently still open on the building will be paid off.

"There is no good plan. In my heart - the heart of a teacher - that tears at my inner core," Mankins said.

Board President Jeff Mabee said not passing the levy in May can't be an option.

"I don't know how anyone can look at that (contingency plan) and not get sick to their stomach," he said.

Board member Amy Powers said residents can't afford not to approve the levy.

"This is real," she said. "We've got to let people know our property values are going to (be) no good. It's about even more than our kids."

Marysville Education Association Vice President and varsity boys track coach J.B. Ritchie agreed, saying a failed levy and more cuts would result in "educational apocalypse."

Meanwhile, a pro-levy campaign committee, headed by Kenny Chaffin and Chris Schmenk, is planning a kick-off campaign rally at 6 p.m. March 7 at Marysville High School, 800 Amrine Road.

The two gave the board an update on the activities of the committee, which has held two meetings already with another planned for Monday Feb. 25. It has established 15 subcommittees.

The May levy combines a current five-year, 5-mill levy and a 4-mill levy. The committee's goal, according to Schmenk and Chaffin is to send a simple and clear message: zero new taxes.

Chaffin talked about the importance of the district's commitment to excellence and the community's commitment to support the levy.

"When you have 360 degrees of impact, it takes 360 degrees of leadership to be successful," he said.

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