In four straight elections dating back to 2015, Greenbush-Middle River School voters denied the district of increased tax-generated funding. This included last year’s operating levy failing with 864 (55.67%) “no” votes to 688 (44.53%) “yes” votes.
Facing two ballot funding questions on November 2, the voters responded and supported the GMR students and staff at the ballot box this time around— both my near three to one margins. The board officially canvassed these results at a November 5 special meeting.
In many of the public meetings related to this vote in which he has presented, GMR Superintendent Larry Guggisberg has said he is an optimist with experience, but also knew there were people who would vote against these questions. The results on both questions, he said, were “overwhelming.”
“It just made a very strong statement about the school and the school in the Greenbush and Middle River community,” Guggisberg said. “And certainly, I think people realize… the vote is for the success of students and this vote is for the success of the district. And in the end, they wanted to support kids and the voters really sent a strong message in favor of that.”
On the first question— to renew its expiring $506.05 per pupil levy, set to expire on June 30, 2022— the voters passed this question with 948 “yes” votes (73.04%) to 350 “no” votes (26.96%). On the second question— to pass a levy $700 per pupil more than the expiring levy— the voters passed this one with 904 “yes” votes (69.49%) to 397 “no” votes (30.51%).
With both passed, these levies will begin to run for six years, starting with taxes payable 2022 and will provide $289,934 to the district annually, according to preliminary estimates provided to the district. When district property owners get their next tax statements, these election results will be reflected in their final taxes.
As review, a house, garage, and one acre will be taxed under these operating levies. Seasonal recreational properties and agricultural land and buildings beyond the dwelling value (home, garage, and one acre) are exempt from these operating levies.
Operating levies allow districts to generate additional general education revenue— provided through both local property tax levies and state aid. This revenue can be used for any operating expenses, including staff salaries and benefits, utilities, supplies, and technology, according to an Ehlers & Associates Power Point presentation.
This election provided two polling sites— one at the Greenbush Community Center and another at the Middle River Community Center. As noted in a notice that ran in The Tribune’s October 27 issue, the votes from each polling site would be counted at one combined polling site— the Greenbush Community Center. Guggisberg mentioned how this notice was provided in both local papers. A total of seven election judges did the counting.
As a result of counting the votes at one site, the votes by precinct are not shown in the final vote counts. Guggisberg explained the reasoning behind doing this.
“There would be value to knowing how the vote was at each site, but there would also be value in not knowing. It just depends on what information you want,” Guggisberg said at the November 5 special meeting. “As far as I’m concerned, you are one school district. You have a hyphen in it, but you are one school district. And the outcome is over 900 voting yes (and) 300 voting no.”
At the next election, if the district wants to show the results by precinct, Guggisberg said it could do that.
“You are one school district in the past. You are one school district moving forward. Enough said for me,” Guggisberg said right before the board officially canvassed the results.
To see the complete story, read the November 10 issue of The Tribune in print or online.