Fewer students and less funding from the state has left the Prairie Heights School District running out of money.
Superintendent Jeff Reed and Financial Consultant Brock Bowsher of Umaugh and Associates outlined the district’s financial outlook last night which shows the district running in the red by over $11.8 million dollars by 2026.
The district is down about 100 students since 2011 and state support is down just over half-a-million dollars.
Reed said the district has cut staff from 98 in 2012 to 78 now and is understaffed. It has cut spending where it can and cut utilities through HVAC and lighting upgrades. It is spending down its Rainy Day Fund for operational costs.
Proposed additional property tax levies through a voter referendum would impact the average home owner from $98 to $135 per year...and farm property from $3.37 to $4.62 per year per acre.
If a referendum passes, Reed said the district would address understaffing and wages. If it didn’t pass, Reed said there are no plans to consolidate with another district but the district would look much different from today.
Roughly 150 people were in attendance at the meeting Tuesday.
The school board must decide by July if it will put a referendum on the ballot in November. Reed promised more community meetings on the question before then.