Springfield Schools will go back to voters if August levy fails

A sign along McCord Road encouraging voters in Holland to vote for a 7.9-mills levy that would help fund Springfield Schools

The Springfield School District in Holland is facing a nearly $3 million budget deficit as the new school year approaches.

School officials say thatâ??s after they already cut $1 million from the budget by eliminating several administrative jobs as well as three teaching positions from the high school.

To make up the rest and to cover future operating expenses, the districtâ??s board of education placed a levy on the August 5 ballot. If approved, the 7.9-mills levy would generate about $5 million per year for the district, and cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $276 per year.

â??Itâ??s definitely important to our kids. Itâ??s important to our district. But itâ??s important to our community as a whole,â?? says Sherri Koback, president of the Springfield Board of Education.

School board members say the state backtracked on a pledge to provide $6 million in funding for the district, forcing them to ask Holland taxpayers to fill in the void.

Springfield Local Schools to request 7.9 mil levy in August

While school officials are optimistic voters will approve the levy on August 5, they are planning ahead in case it fails. At Wednesdayâ??s board of education hearing, the board approved to place the same 7.9-mills levy on the November ballot should the August vote go against the district.

â??Basically because of the deadlines with the county (and the state), we have to unfortunately make a decision if we are going to be on the ballot in November before we know the results of the August 5th levy,â?? according to Koback.

She says if voters approve the levy in a couple of weeks, there will be no need for the November initiative, and it will be taken off the ballot. Koback says there would be no penalty for the district to remove the levy since that decision would be made well before ballots are actually printed.

But if the August levy does fail, Koback says the district will be forced to make additional cuts while they wait for the November vote. One of the major cuts would be to all high school transportation, including busing to and from the school and for extracurricular activities.

â??Transportation unfortunately is going to beâ?¦weâ??re going to have to make some cuts that way. Staffingâ?¦our technology is going to be affected. Unfortunately itâ??s going to impact the kids and the district as a whole,â?? warned Koback if the August levy vote goes against the school.