Letter to the Editor: Importance of school mill levy override

Dear Editor:
The Meeker Board of Education (BOE) would like to ask for your support in the upcoming mill levy override request. This will be issue 3A on the ballot.

Hopefully over the past few years, you have been following the BOE’s ongoing discussions concerning the financial conditions within the Meeker School District. State legislation enacted over the past 20-plus years has caused some negative financial impacts to our school district that have affected our ability to provide the best learning opportunity for our kids.
The board was reminded of some of these negative impacts at our last board workshop. We discussed with staff the building maintenance priorities for the school district. It was very enlightening to see the maintenance needs for all of our buildings and how routine and needed maintenance over the years has been neglected due to lack of funds.
Staff brought a multi-page list of projects, both large and small, with estimated costs for each project. Priority 1 projects totaled more than $1 million. This did not include things like replacing buses and repairing the bus barn, which our maintenance staff felt were Priority 2 projects.
Currently, our vehicle maintenance staff does not have enough space to work on buses inside during the winter months and must do so outside in the cold. We had projects listed as low as Priority 4.
Priority 1 projects are primarily in our aging high school and middle school buildings. These include but are not limited to: repairing the boiler in the middle school, replacing failing water fountains, repairing concrete cracking and crumbling around buildings, multiple leaks in the roofs on our buildings, old worn carpet, malfunctioning kitchen food service appliances, needed electric system upgrades, photo copiers and more.
This list does not take into consideration the need to replace many of the textbooks our teachers are using in their classrooms, which are upwards of 10-plus years old.
Passage of the mill levy override will not be a quick fix for all the district’s needs. However, it will provide some of the additional funds needed to keep our buildings open and functioning. It will also help support our staff and reintroduce some course offerings that have been cut.
The ultimate fix is through our legislators and new school financing on a statewide basis. However, this does not seem to be coming in the near future. The cost of approving this mill levy override will be approximately $8 per year for each $100,000 of value in your home.
Due to sound financial planning, the Meeker Recreation District was able to pay off the Recreation Center bond early. This reduction in your taxes will more than offset any increase in taxes associated with the school district’s mill levy override. Therefore, your overall property taxes should not increase even when you make the choice to invest in our children’s education. And, all of the money raised in the mill levy override stays here in our schools.
Currently, Meeker School District is managing to get through this financially difficult time. We managed to almost balance our budget this year due to a one-time funding assistance from the state. This will not occur again, so times may get tougher, especially with the impacts of the negative factor.
The Meeker BOE would like to ask you to vote “Yes” on 3A in the upcoming election.
Bill de Vergie, President
Mindy Burke, Vice President
Marnell Bradfield, Secretary
Todd Shults, member
Bud Ridings, member
Kurt Blunt, member
Tom Allen, member
Meeker Board of Education