RPS board votes to renew 2015 operating levy

RPS Board renews 2015 Referendum

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(ABC 6 News) – The Rochester Public School board deemed renewing a 2015 levy necessary after voters rejected last fall’s technology referendum.

This came after a new bill passed last year that gave school boards the authority to renew an expiring referendum.

— RELATED: Potentially painful cuts ahead for Rochester Public Schools

The 2015 operating levy provides about $17.2 million of general fund revenue and 80 percent of that general fund budget is spent on staffing.

Board members said they couldn’t afford to not renew this referendum.

— RELATED: RPS responds to rejected referendum, “painful cuts” expected

“To do $17 million in cuts next year immediately, and on top of the other financial challenges that we still face, absolutely would’ve been crushing,” RPS superintendent Dr. Kent Pekel said.

Board members also said they believe they were transparent with the community when explaining this referendum in 2023 and the goal remains of giving staff and students the necessary resources in the district.

“Our priorities as the school board is to ensure that we are providing the resources to our buildings, and our staff and our leaders, to make sure that our students are having the outcomes that our community told us that we want to set through our strategic planning process,” RPS school board chair Cathy Nathan said.

The school board said without the renewal of the 2015 operating levy, there would need to be significant budget reductions across the district.

The renewal of this levy would not prevent the school board from seeking additional funding.