April 24, 2014

Elyria
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Keystone Schools to ask for new levy in May

LAGRANGE — Keystone Schools will ask voters to approve an operating levy for current expenses in May. If passed, it would be the first operating levy approved by voters since 1991.

On Monday, the school district held an informational meeting about the proposal at Keystone High School. Superintendent Jay Arbaugh said that while the millage has not yet been decided, a five-year operational levy likely will be on the ballot in May.

“Keystone has not passed an operating levy in almost a quarter of a century,” he said. “We’ve done remarkably well.”

Arbaugh said additional revenue is needed after funding cuts from the state and property tax depreciation.

In 2009, the district received about $6.9 million in state funding. This year, it received $2.6 million, according to Treasurer Susan Bement. “With the biennium budget, we will not see any increase over the next two years in state revenue,” she said.

Bement said the district’s cash balance has fallen. In 2009, the district had more than $4 million in reserve. The district’s budget is projected to be $2.5 million at the end of the year and will decrease exponentially, she said.

Arbaugh said the district decided it would be a good time to ask for additional money from voters, because district officials were smart with money received from the passage of a bond issue in 2010.

“We kept our promises with the buildings,” he said. “We were good stewards with our money.”

Arbaugh said more details on the proposed levy will be available in January.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.