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Consider outcomes of referendum vote
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From Steve Monson
39-year Black Hawk resident
On Tuesday, April 6, voters of the Black Hawk School District will be asked to go to the polls to make a decision that could possibly impact the area for years to come. The proposed recurring referendum is asking to exceed revenue limits by $700,000 in 2010-2011 and $800,000 is 2011-2012; this is less than the $850,000 of the third year of the non-recurring referendum that has expired. Recurring referendum does not mean that it will increase $800,000 more each year. The two year referendum will reset the base revenue at $5.2 million from $4.3 million of 2006. This limit cannot be exceeded. Of the $800,000 only $320,000 is actually put on the local taxes, the rest is part of what the district receives in state aid. You will not be paying $8 million over a period of 10 years despite what some of the information has told you. In basic terms, the proposal is asking you to hold your school taxes where they have been, in fact there will be a slight decrease. This system of funding schools is unfair and broken, I am the first to admit that, but a "Yes" or "No" vote will not change that. The area is suffering through hard economic times, myself included, but a yes or no vote will not change that either. The economy will rebound as it did from the 1980s and that recovery will depend on this area still having a school district. If the referendum passes we will have a solid district for years to come with enrollment numbers holding steady for the next 10-12 years. If the referendum fails there may be a building closure and significant cuts to staffing. There has been a 27 percent decline in enrollment over the last 10 years, but there has also been a 29 percent reduction in staffing over the last 10 years. People can make their own individual arguments on how much a teacher should be compensated, but the bottom line is Black Hawk is in line with the surrounding districts and we have made that information available at all the local sessions that we have held. Members of the "Vote No" committee have publicly stated that it would be best to close the district all together. I do not believe this is in the best economic interest of this area. Both villages that pay water and sewer bills will likely see an increase if the schools no longer help support those systems. Utility companies (electric, phone, Internet) may need to recapture the lost revenue due to building closures affecting everyone. I know this is a tough decision and a very tough time to have to make it, but I just ask that everyone considers all possible results, not just one year of tax savings. As a board member I will do my best to defend your vote, but please understand what that vote means.