More than 100 people attended Thursday evening’s TASK (Taxpayers for Argos Schools and Kids) meeting at the Argos United Methodist Church.
Jon VanDerWeele, Chairman of TASK welcomed the crowd, showed a short you tube video and offered folks the opportunity to have someone calculate the referendum tax impact for their property taxes.
Financial consultant Kurt Pletcher from Umbaugh explained the 2008 tax reform that changed how schools are funded. The General Fund for schools are funded 100% by the state while local property taxes fund debt services, pensions and retirement, capital projects, transportation and bus replacement.
The Argos School Board has proposed a .61 tax rate operating referendum which would raise $1,040,000 for the schools. This will allow the school to continue offering the current level of programs, staffing and services to students.
Funds from a successful referendum would allow for a full time e-learning coach, Title 1 teacher, additional full time junior high math teacher, 2 full time Project Lead the Way teachers, a part time vocational and internship teacher, elementary principal, and the additional of extracurricular activities students are asking for such as cross county, robotics and additional agricultural offerings.
Argos Schools have made significant changes to save money including closing the superintendent’s office, eliminating the elementary principal and allowing the superintendent to handle those job duties, increase class size, frozen salaries, reduced operating expenses, and implementing a shared position for the full time e-learning coach.
If the referendum doesn’t pass there is a possibility of reducing a special teacher or two in PE, Art and or Music; reducing classified staff, reduce a full time counselor position, reduce or eliminate field trips, implement a transportation fee for athletic event, extra-curricular and clubs and even consider consolidation with another school corporation.
After the presentation a time for questions and answers followed with all questions being submitted on index cards and then answered by two school board members, the Argos Superintendent and the financial consultant. More than 50 questions were asked and answered.
Another meeting of TASK will be held on April 11th at 7 p.m. at the Argos United Methodist Church.