The Colonial School Board of Education voted in favor of holding a second referendum on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. The Board agreed to the same operating amount sought in the February 28 referendum of 38 cents per $100 of assessed home value. With impending cuts to the state budget announced recently, the 38 cents will now meet operating and growth needs only, and not the expansion of other district initiatives.
The Board of Education agreed to remove the capital improvement request of 1.4 cents, the second part of the February referendum, which was also rejected by voters.
Due to the failed referendum, the Colonial School District has implemented an immediate hiring, spending, and travel freeze to preserve funds through the remainder of this fiscal year.
Should the June referendum also be defeated, Colonial is preparing to implement over $4 million in cuts for the 2017-2018 school year. Immediate implications include:
- Over 170 positions will be eliminated. All departments will be impacted.
- Class sizes will increase due to the reduction in
- Middle school and freshman sports will be cancelled.
- Parents will be required to provide basic school supplies.
- Student travel and field trips will be cancelled or costs will be incurred by parents.
- Art Show, Band, and Choral Festivals and STEAM Showcase will be cancelled.
- The annual Teacher of the Year and retirement dinners will be cancelled.
- Summer enrichment programs will be cancelled, including Middle School Institute and STEM, impacting over 700 students.
- Summer Credit Recovery Program for high school students will be cancelled.
“We realized that we didn’t communicate the impact that a failed referendum will have on our schools,” said Superintendent Dr. Dusty Blakey. While vowing to remain committed to providing students with a quality education Blakey said, “If we aren’t successful in June, we are preparing to make some very difficult choices that will impact our valued staff, and as a result, our students. When we are forced to make drastic cuts like this, we look to preserve our classrooms. However, staff cuts will mean larger class sizes and possibly the end of some popular academic programs. In addition, some sports and extracurricular activities will also be casualties.”
Gary Phillips, President of the Friends of Colonial, is meeting with parents and community members who want to see the referendum pass in June saying, “The Colonial School District has made tremendous strides over the last few years. We want to see that momentum continue for the sake our students, so we will work very hard to convince voters to support the district by voting for the June 6th referendum,” Phillips said.