Prop A critical to secure Lindbergh's long-term financial health, board says
March 30, 2005 - To the editor:
A "yes'' vote on April 5 is critical to secure the long-term financial health of the Lindbergh School District and en-sure the continued quality of educational offerings to students and families.
Proposition A is an operating levy request for 65 cents designed to maintain core academic programs; attract and retain high-quality teachers; meet state and federal mandates in reading and math; and continue small class size as well as support overall operations.
Maintaining our existing level of services is imperative as the district strives to meet the federal mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act and attain a fifth consecutive year of Performance with Distinction — determined by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Passage of Proposition A will avert reductions in teaching positions as well as programs and services within and outside the classroom that will be felt at all grade levels throughout the district.
Despite instituting cuts and program reductions saving nearly $2 million in the past two years, there is a projected budget deficit approaching $3 million for the 2005-2006 school year.
Funding this shortfall through further reduction of the district's operating reserve is an imprudent course of ac-tion.
The reserve represents an amount roughly equivalent to slightly more than five months of operating expenses, allowing the district to avoid borrowing to meet operating expenses — the district typically does not receive its operating income until January or later.
The reserve also allows the district to have funds on hand in the event of an unforeseen financial emergency, as is the case faced in neighboring districts with unanticipated expenses for asbestos abatement or mechanical repairs.
It is also important to note that the district has been counseled to avoid further reductions in this reserve by its independent auditors and financial rating companies.
A couple of final points — first, all of the money raised by Proposition A stays in the local community and supports schools and students in our district.
Secondly, since 1992, the board has steadfastly kept its promise to the community by taking only what is needed to meet its operating expenses.
The board's policy to take only what it needs to operate the district over the past 13 years has translated into more than $32 million in taxes authorized by, but not collected from, district residents.
Speaking as one voice, we again reiterate our pledge to take no more than 32 cents of the authorized levy the first year — and only what is needed each year thereafter.
Proposition A is a long-term financial strategy designed to address the operational needs of Lindbergh School Dis-trict for a minimum of five years.
Now, however, your help is essential. The need is real. The time to pass Proposition A is now.
We, the Lindbergh Board of Education, are asking the community to vote "yes'' on April 5 for Proposition A.
Mark R. Rudoff, president
Barry Cooper, vice president
Kenneth Fey, secretary
Robert Bader, treasurer
Vic Lenz, director
Katie Wesselschmidt, director
Drew Walk, director