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Riverside School District makes push for new levy

Riverside USD 114 is campaigning for a new levy tax to fund the local schools.

Posted: Jul 12, 2018 6:36 PM
Updated: Jul 12, 2018 6:45 PM

(Elwood,KS) Riverside USD 114 is campaigning for a new levy tax to fund the local schools. In May the school board approved a proposal to place a 4.775 mill levy initiative on the August ballot.

Superintendent Dr. Bob Blair said if approved the levy might fluctuate, but never exceed the 4.775 mill.

“The board is asking for the authority to levy that amount. It doesn’t mean that the board has to levy that amount, and it doesn't mean that amount is what will be levied,” Blair said. “Our district will look at it’s needs from year to year and levy what we need from year to year to keep taxes as low as possible for our patrons.”

If approved the new levy would bring in approximately $280,000 annually for the next five years, with 41 percent of the overall levy being matched by the state of Kansas.

Over the last two years the district has cut over $1million from classroom budgets due to a lack of state funding.

“We had that $700,000 revenue decline this past year. So with our aging busses, aging roofs, other aging vehicles, need of new floors, things like that; our district decided to propose that capital outlay levy,” Blair said.

Blair said the tax would cost a residential homeowner about $59 per year on a $100,000 home.

Both Wathena and Elwood school districts had their own capital outlay levy in place prior to the districts consolidating into the Riverside USD 114 in 2010.

“In the state of Kansas there are 286 school districts, we are only one of nine that doesn't have a capital outlet levy as a source of funding,” Blair said.

The school district will host two informational meetings to discuss the capital outlay levy on Thursday, July 12 at 7 p.m. at the East Campus Gym at 203 N. 12th St, Elwood, KS; and Thursday, July 26 at 7 p.m. at the West Campus Auditorium at 705 Jesse, Wathena,KS.

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