Last week we received a notification for a Special Election in the mail concerning a request to continue a M&O (Maintenance and Operations) Fund Budget override. Being new to the community and retired, this was read this with great interest and we learned the override is a continuation from 5 years ago at the rate of 15%.
Now starts the quest to find out what budget areas these overrides are generating from, and why this would still be unresolved to this degree after 5 years. As the research started, first order of business was to find out first how this school district ranked state wide and in comparison to like-sized rural districts. It was appalling to find this district appears to spend/budget almost twice the per student amount of the state average. In my personal opinion the state ranking of this school district is dismal for the money to say the least; the district ranked 232 of 446 and the elementary school (PK, KG-6) ranked 732 of 1,121.
For a district spending so much money and with a declining student population, how is it that the rankings continue to decline? Apparently this is not a new situation so why hasn't the budget been brought under better control with a minimum of 5 year historical data? Have the administrators and/or school board become too comfortable in their positions? Or is there a deeper situation that has yet to be addressed?
We're new to this community but also being retired, our opinion is do we need to continue putting good money after bad? This is a commitment not only of the community for "appropriate" funding, but a commitment from the Blue Ridge Unified School District #32 for much improved performance. This budget should be brought forth for further discussion and hard answers. If this was a personal household, a salary advance may be granted upon request, but those are not generally on a continued basis - that would be considered a raise. A household would need to re-budget to find ways to stay within their means. It has been long said: The more you make, the more you spend.
For this household of registered voters, the vote will be NO on continuing this override at this time.