Local funding is critical to balancing the District budget. If the operating referendum does not pass, “At Risk” is our financial ability to invest in what our community values for its public schools:
high quality education from the best and brightest teachers and support staff
small class sizes and neighborhood schools
equitable opportunities for all learners
consistent school start times
career and college readiness
targeted investments in academic excellence
innovative programs to support students at all levels
A failed referendum will force the District to make significant budget reductions. These reductions will impact class size, educational programs, overall school operations, and the elimination of staff at all levels.
There would be a new effort to pass an operating referendum in 2018, which is the last opportunity before the district would lose $17.1 million. There is little doubt that the loss of $17.1 million in revenue will dramatically change how the District looks at its resources, operations and priorities.
Specifics of Bloomington’s possible reductions will not be given prior to the election, as the District is confident our community will continue to support the importance of funding education. Although some insight can be gained from what other districts have done, there are two important considerations in Bloomington that are different.
The District has already aggressively reduced operating expenses to direct as much of the budget to learning as possible. There are few areas, other than class size, programs and services, left to cut.
The District has made $9.6 million in program reductions, increases in class sizes and charging higher fees for activities over the past 8 years. And, it has spent down its fund balance by an additional $10.5 million over the past 5 years.
In a social and public sense, neighborhood schools have a value that is nearly immeasurable. Our schools provide a resource and sense of community for their neighborhoods. They offer vitality, energy, and value to the greater Bloomington community.
The loss of the referendum revenue will force painful cuts and reductions affecting students, teachers, support staff, administration, and the overall operations of the district.