The Jamestown Public School Board has lowered expectations for public funding for projects after having two referendums defeated in 2015 and 2018. The school board’s latest proposal - to increase the building maintenance fund by 10 mills - should be approved by voters on Tuesday, Sept. 24.
The school district’s voters overwhelmingly defeated the last $34.4 million proposal to pay for a number of projects, including an athletic complex. That proposal nearly doubled from the first referendum, when $19 million was sought at the polls.
Following the second referendum, The Sun advocated the school board take a look at the building fund and consider a proposal to increase that instead, giving the district some means to fund critical needs such as boilers, roof replacement and windows, to name a few. Tuesday’s referendum is the least expensive option of the three that gives the district a way to pay for needs that can’t be delayed indefinitely, raising an additional $718,560 a year.
Buildings that are more than 50 years old need upkeep. In 2018, the district replaced two roofs at Jamestown Middle School at a cost of $445,000 - over half of the annual building fund budget. With five elementary schools, a high school and middle school, there is no shortage of needs for the buildings.
Just like residents need to update furnaces, water heaters and such over time in their homes, so does the school district.
The proposal that voters will decide on Tuesday is, by no means, the financial solution to the district’s needs. But it does give the district some additional money for projects that include windows, electrical upgrades and boilers.
The election is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, in the Thompson Community Room of Jamestown Middle School. Voters will be asked whether the school building fund levy for the district should be increased from 10 mills to 20 mills. This would be an increase of $45 annually on residential property valued at $100,000 and $50 per $100,000 valuation for commercial and agricultural property in the school district. It is an affordable increase for the district’s patrons to pay for needs that aren’t going to go away. Sixty percent approval is required to pass the referendum.
Voters should approve the proposal.
Editorials are the opinion of Jamestown Sun management and the newspaper's editorial board.