From Cary Elementary School District 26 Board President Scott Coffey:
Creating a D-155 Unit District with a more affordable and sustainable operating cost structure is completely dependent upon the 7 new Board members that would have to restructure operations and negotiate new union contracts.
The current Operating Tax Rate differential that exists between the 4 elementary districts would dictate that any new rate results in, at a minimum, matching the current lowest rate (D-26).
Based on the levy collected in 2017, driving down to D-26’s rate would reduce the combined levy by $11.7 million.
There is no where near that amount of duplicative administrative spending that could be eliminated to generate enough savings to offset that revenue loss.
That means, the new Board would have to look elsewhere for savings.
By combining with D-155, this process becomes exponentially harder.
Clearly, the D-155 teacher contract is much more expensive than the elementary district’s contracts.
Additionally, there is a substantial teacher-equity differential just on required student contact time between the contracts.
Negotiating an affordable new teacher’s contract covering almost 1,200 teachers would be challenging.
The math gets interesting if you apply the “Cut 10%” Theory to what a Unit D-155 referendum Operating Tax Rate would look like.
Today, Cary residents have the lowest combined tax rate (D26+D155) of $6.469228 per $100/EAV, if you cut that by 10% down to $5.822 and apply it across all of the communities it would yield a combined tax cut of $28.3 million.
That means we [would] need to have 7 Board members that would be prepared to do some heavy lifting in order to generate the savings required to have a balanced budget.
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Based on the results of the last two District 155 High School Board elections, a Board willing to cut as much as Coffey projects would not get elected.