Austin Public Schools may renew levies

Published 2:05 pm Saturday, June 12, 2010

On Monday, the Austin School Board could approve a referendum proposal that would call for two levies to be renewed in November.

The two operating levies, which provide $304.53 per student combined, are among three levies that the district uses. Overall, the three levies equate to $719 of funding per student, or roughly $3.5 million.

In November 2009, voters shot down a referendum that would have revoked the two levies and replaced them with one levy that would have provided $531.32 per student each year — and would have meant a $1.09 million revenue increase for the district.

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Board member Richard Lees said at the time that the vote was tough to take, especially because Austin’s $719 levy figure trails the Big Nine average of $768 per student and the state average of $830.

“The referendum is the thing that most of us were the most concerned about,” he said. “The results are very disappointing.”

Now, the board could instead ask the voters to maintain the status quo, if Monday’s proposal passes. If that does in fact happen, the referendum would go in front of voters on Nov. 2.

The two levies in question are set to expire in 2011 and 2012. If the proposal passes, the board will ask voters to renew one for 10 years and the other for nine, so their next expiration dates would be the same.