School Board Approves Proposed Operating Levy

During the May 15th Lebanon R-3 Board of Education meeting, the Board voted 6-0 to set the proposed operating levy increase at $.90 per $100 of assessed valuation for the August 7 ballot. Board president Jason Riggs shared that the last time the District asked for an operating levy increase was in 1991, which did not pass. "We needed it then, so the past 27 years have been challenging." He went onto explain that because the District's critical financial needs did not emerge overnight, the Board would not seek to fix them in a single year. The Board has chosen to use $.30 increments to phase in the increase over three years, if approved by Lebanon School District voters. District taxpayers would see a $.30 increase in 2018, a $.30 increase in 2019, and the final $.30 increase in 2020. For the average home value of $100,000 in Lebanon, this will be a monthly increase of $4.75 a month over each of three years. The increase in year two would be an additional $4.75 per month, totaling $9.50 per month. Year three's increase would add $4.75 per month, totaling $14.25 per month.

"We've been talking about this for well over a year," said Riggs. "We've looked at the budget and done everything possible. We've stretched dollars are far as they will go. All of our costs have increased, but our local funding hasn't. The current levy is the state minimum and isn't enough to sustain what we have. We've discussed this for over a year and given it a lot of thought." The Board also discussed their goals for the proposed operating levy increase:

Personalized and future focused experiences for our kids

  • Students are our most important focus ​
  • We have continued to prioritize personalized experiences and a future focus in preparing students for college and careers
  • Our goal is for all kids to graduate with a clear plan for their future
  • Our goal is to offer kids more opportunities and improve current programs that prepare and excite all kids for their futures
  • Our goal is to build our local workforce and keep the best and brightest here in our community

Recruiting and retaining the best staff for our kids

  • We continually lose staff throughout the year to other districts and industries due to better pay and benefits elsewhere
  • When staff leave each year for higher paying jobs, it’s disruptive to our schools and kids
  • Our goal is for all staff pay to be competitive with area schools and industry within the next 5 years
  • Our goal is to provide the best education for our kids and grandkids
  • Our goal is to retain the great staff we have, and to recruit great staff as well

Newer, safer buses for our kids

  • No one wants to put our kids on an old bus that might break down. The majority of our daily transportation is provided on buses that are 17 or more years old.
  • The state underfunds Lebanon School District busing by $1.5 million every year. With local support we can provide safer transportation to and from school.
  • Newer buses (similar to newer cars) will have enhanced safety features such as cameras
  • Our goal is for the average age of all buses to be 10 years or less in the next 10 years

Safe and functional facilities for our kids

  • We want to maintain our facilities to provide safe and functional buildings and grounds for many years to come
  • Kids can focus on learning when they’re in a safe and comfortable environment
  • Our goal is to establish a sustainable 10-year maintenance cycle to address critical facility needs such as aging roofs, HVAC systems, parking lots, etc.  

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  • Central Office Phone: 417-657-6001
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