Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tribune Reports Mishawaka Board Member Calls for Another Referendum

From the South Bend Tribune:

Even as the administration of School City of Mishawaka moves toward a budget plan designed to avert a looming fiscal cliff, at least one school board member voiced support Wednesday for another run at a referendum to generate additional money for the schools.
Board member Larry Stillson said cuts alone aren’t going to get the schools to their goal.
“People love their schools. They want the best for their kids,” Stillson said. “I think we have to have in place a plan to cut, a plan to change and a plan to bring the things back. It just makes sense to me.”
Stillson acknowledged the district made mistakes in its unsuccessful campaign last fall for a $28 million voter referendum, including asking for too much money.
“We can’t live like we’re going to win the lottery. But, if you don’t buy a ticket, you can’t win,” Stillson said. “We have to buy a ticket. That ticket is depending upon on this community and believing that they are going to join us in making this a stronger corporation, join us in being able to provide security for the buildings, join us in providing technology for the children. We have to believe that and I do.”
The plea came during a board work session at Emmons Elementary School aimed at elaborating on the administration’s plan to save up to $10 million in the next six years to offset the impact of Circuit Breaker tax caps, meet increasing debt obligations and complete high-priority facilities repairs.
Superintendent Terry Barker said school leaders have to act now to avoid the fiscal cliff in 2020 when the district’s debt obligations will exceed the district’s ability to pay them.
“We have to do something,” Barker said. “Doing nothing is not really an option.”

The administration on Wednesday continued to outline and advocate for its preferred plan to realize the needed cost-savings.