The following was written by Cary Grade School Board President Scott Coffey:
Thoughts on School Consolidation
A new, consolidated district is NOT required to migrate to the highest wage rates of the legacy contracts of the combined districts.
However, that has been the experience of consolidating districts in this state.
It’s just easier to cave in.
Because the alternative requires a substantial amount of effort on behalf of the new Board members and Administration of the new consolidated district to battle the newly formed union to agree to a successor agreement that more closely matches the lower cost agreement rather than the most expensive labor agreement.
And, that, apparently is just too hard to do.
Somehow, people have come to believe that the new district has to live with the more expensive contract, that is not true.
Consolidating the 4 elementary’s that feed D-155 (3, 26, 46, 47) would be quite challenging.
Obviously, all 4 communities have to vote to approve.
And to get approval, there has to be an incentive for each community to want to consolidate.
We’ll start with taxes.
The Operating Tax Rates [dollars per $100 of assessed valuation] for the 4 districts are:
Cary 26 = 3.88827
CL 47 = 4.3488
PG 46 = 4.87884
FRG 3 = 5.717264
At a minimum, the entire proposal would have to drive down to at least Cary’s rate, otherwise Cary residents will vote NO to what would effectively be a tax increase.
So what happens if all the districts migrate to Cary’s rate?
Taxpayers save the following based on current EAV:
- Cary = $0
- CL 47 = $7.4 million
- PG 46 = $2.1 million
- FRG 3 = $1.7 million
Total = $11.2 million
This is great for most taxpayers, but for Cary residents its tax-neutral.
What’s the incentive for their YES vote?
One might have to design the referendum with a new Tax Rate that is even below Cary’s current rate.
But, back to the above scenario, of course this means also that the new consolidated district will operate with $11.2 million less in annual operating revenue.
At a minimum, the question is, are there enough cost savings opportunities in the new district to cover the lost revenue?
Note: Existing debt service stays with the community that originally issued the debt so that is not a part of the puzzle.
Could a new Board successfully navigate all the challenges (and there are dozens of other issues I haven’t mentioned) and put a successor district in a financially affordable and sustainable position for the future?
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- 2-27-11 School Consolidation Would Cost Taxpayers Plenty
- 3-12-11 AP Finally Figures Out Quinn’s School Consolidation Plan Will Raise Local Taxes Because of Increased Grade School Teachers’ Salaries (with link to Northwest Herald’s endorsement of the idea)