The Sparta Area School District is once again going to referendum on April 2, this time to ask voters for a three-year operating referendum of $750,000 per year. This operating referendum has been in place for the past twelve years and has allowed the district to fund safety and security measures, 1:1 technology for our students, teaching and learning materials, and after-school programming that bridges the gap between school and home for many of our families.
This year’s referendum funds will be used for many of the same expenditures. Much of the technology not specifically associated with the 1:1 technology initiative, including classroom technology (e.g., smart screens, classroom sets of iPads or laptops for students) and teacher laptops are already extended a year or more beyond the recommended replacement cycle. Our after school programs are serving students throughout the district and rely on our referendum funds to support daily operations. These funds also support the materials for teaching and learning, which today include not only textbooks, workbooks, and some electronic/online supplemental materials, but digital units (which can be updated in real time), and hands-on materials. Referendum funds also support our work in Career and Technical Education. The welding labs at the high school, CNC machine and other materials at the high school and middle school, and our apprenticeship partnerships are important connections to work and community for our students.
In short, these funds ensure that the District can offer a level and variety of programming that challenges students and enables them to explore and develop their strengths and talents in a safe and modern environment. Operating referendum funds will be used for many of the same things that it has been used for in the past: 1) to update and modernize curriculum; 2) deepen after school programming to provide tutoring, enrichment, and structured social experiences; 3) update classroom and teacher technology while maintaining our 1:1 programming for students, and 4) continue our commitment to school safety.
There will be no new impact on the mill rate. The mill rate is a figure representing the tax amount per $1,000 of property fair market value. This 2019 referendum authority would replace the existing referendum authority from 2014, so it will not increase the existing property tax levy.
Our upcoming operating referendum will in no way be used to fund the district’s facilities expansion projects. Rather, these funds will be used in much the same way that they have been used the past 12 years. These operational expenses support the core of our work in the Sparta Area School District as reflected in our mission statement: To educate all students, academically, emotionally, and socially to inspire curiosity and resilience.
Learn more about the referendum here: http://www.spartan.org/2019-operating-referendum/