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Glendale-River Hills board to vote on funding referendum

Declining enrollment, drop in state aid threaten staffing, programs

Feb. 1, 2011

In an effort to bridge future budget deficits, officials in the Glendale-River Hills School District are proposing a referendum this spring, asking for an additional $600,000 annually over a four-year period of time.

District Administrator Larry Smalley said Glendale-River Hills would need to exceed the state-mandated revenue cap to maintain all existing programs.

"At this time, I'm not going to say what would get cut if the referendum weren't to pass," Smalley said. "But the reality is my job is to present the board with a balanced budget. Publicly, I don't want to get into that debate. I don't want people pitting against each other throughout this discussion."

The School Board will be taking up his request at its next regular meeting Feb. 16. The deadline to submit referendum questions for inclusion on April ballots is Feb. 18.

The district held a successful $3.75 million referendum three years ago, in spring 2008. That additional spending went toward an assortment of facilities issues. Among them: upgrades to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act, roof repairs, boiler and carpet replacement, parking lot improvements and acquisition of new equipment, technology and fixtures.

The referendum proposed this spring would differ from the previous one. The additional money sought would go toward maintaining existing operations, including staffing and program costs, starting with the 2011-12 school year through 2014-15.

Glendale-River Hills, like many area districts, has been experiencing a financial crunch in recent years due to a variety of factors, including declining enrollment and a decrease in funding from the state.

Once the board takes action on the referendum proposal, Smalley said he plans to hold a series of town hall meetings to discuss the district's needs.

The meetings, tentatively scheduled for Feb. 24, March 1, March 8 and March 31, are to be held at a variety of venues, including Parkway Elementary and Glen Hills Middle schools and the North Shore Library.

- Dave Fidlin

NEXT STEP

WHAT: The Glendale-River Hills School Board is scheduled to act on a planned April referendum.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Feb. 16

WHERE: Glen Hills Middle School, 2600 W. Mill Road

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