Yup - you read that right: the Swanton School Board is going to reduce school taxes for their district. The Fulton Co. auditor's office was in shock - no district in their experience has ever done such a thing!
The current income tax on Swanton school district residents is 1.25%, and it will continue to collect at that rate for another year. After lengthy discussions with our school treasurer, Cheryl Swisher, and careful forecasting, the Board is confident that we can LOWER that rate to 0.75% for our residents and still run the school efficiently and well.
The levy for the reduced rate will be on the ballot in November. Tell your friends!
Not only that - but the Board has also decided to allow the current permanent improvement levy to expire, and will NOT be placing it on the ballot for renewal. Instead, we will move 1 mil of inside millage to Permanent Improvement to care for the physical structures of our four schools. Although the individual savings will seem small, this combined with the reduction of the income tax level should greatly help our residents during these financially stressful times.
We should remember that one of the reasons we are able to do these reductions is because the Board is now truly able to "see" where the district stands, financially, because our treasurer is very very good at what she does. I'm told she inherited a confused mess when she came on board, four to five years ago now, but she has turned that around. We just couldn't do these things for our residents if it weren't for Cheryl's quality management of our district funds.
One thing we are looking at now is how we can get that new Middle School built. You may remember that we were told some years ago by prominent residents, the superintendent and board members of that year that we would be able to get "2 for 1" when the district was working on getting a new high school. Now - as you can clearly see - we did NOT get "2 for 1" at all. So Cheryl is in contact with the state, our attorneys, and the auditor's office to see how that Middle School might be realized. That would be awesome!
I'll keep you posted as this is investigated. It is painfully obvious that our Middle School is in dire straits - and that was before the roof leak and mold was discovered in the old building. (altho they believe they have it contained, and that none reached the newer part of the building that is currently used)
I can't emphasize enough that this current school board is doing its best to do what is right for our students and what is right for our residents - even to the point of lowering the income tax rate. We study these issues - we consider them very carefully, and hammer them out over months of intense deliberations. It is not a flippant nor easy task at all. But each of us honestly cares about our district and wants to do what is in the best interest of ALL, even if that means we are unpopular with a few.
So the next time you see a school board member, shake his or her hand and thank them for their efforts on your behalf. It would mean a lot.