HUBBARD Schools push for levies for operating money

A state takeover looms if the levies fail.
HUBBARD -- Passage of one renewal and one new school levy by voters on Nov. 6 would help the school district maintain statistics like a 95 percent graduation rate and competitive state test scores.
The 5.5-mill emergency levy would raise $1,047,214 per year for five years.
A 6.4-mill renewal levy would raise $1,218,709 per year for five years. It first passed in 1996 and expires in 2002. Passage would not increase taxes. Both emergency levies are for operating expenses.
"The district has received no new money in nine years," said Superintendent James Herrholtz.
Rejected: Last May, Hubbard voters rejected a 9.9-mill emergency levy for the school district.
"We are on the path of a state takeover," the superintendent said.
If both levies fail, the district will see a $931,000 deficit by 2003. If the renewal passes and the new levy fails, the district still faces a $317,442 deficit.
Passage of both levies would enable the district to avoid a state takeover, which involves a declaration of fiscal emergency from the state auditor's office and the appointment of a fiscal oversight commission to take over finances.
What's needed: Items that need attention include new buses, a boiler at Reed Middle School, textbooks and computers.
"This has been one of the most positive campaigns that many people in the community say they can remember," Herrholtz said.
There haven't been groups that have sprouted up opposed to the levies.
"We have 500 signs up and we've had people calling our office to get more signs," he said.
A levy committee including community and business leaders and parents plans a levy rally at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the high school gymnasium. Group members plan to go door-to-door Nov. 3, talking to residents about the levy.
"It's all been very positive," Herrholtz said. "It's not about threatening kids."
Takeover woes: But the superintendent acknowledges that a state takeover would likely mean an end to school sports and transportation and implementation of teacher layoffs and an open enrollment policy.
"A committee would come in and we'd have to start looking at our budget and making some cuts," Herrholtz said.
He's encouraged, though, by the support from the community.
"I'm fairly optimistic," the superintendent said.