With great effort and painstaking precision, Graham Local Schools has spent several years making needed cuts in order to stretch our daily operating budget. That budget pays for the utilities, supplies, teachers, and goes directly to the classroom for students. In doing so, we have not sought new operating monies for years.
Stretching our funds is a part of how Graham operates frugally, and it is engrained in our culture here. When we made deep cuts in 2011-12 in order to offset some hard times for our schools and community, we again did what it took. It is rare for a school system to stay off the ballot for 24 years.
Now, to halt rebuilding efforts from past cuts with our current stealthy management would stretch our budget as far as possible. We are nearing the time when we are in need of additional operating dollars in order to continue operating at our current levels. Right now, the board is considering several types of ballot issues for operating dollars, but we are heavily leaning toward an income tax issue based on community feedback. Regardless, the need is there and the board is eyeing a levy for November 2017.
We, as a school board, do not come to this decision lightly, and we will spend the next several months intently listening to the community’s feedback on the matter. In fact, we worked with our community members to forge our new strategic plan, Graham 2020, with a fiscal goal to seek the appropriate funding at the appropriate time to realize the success of this plan.
Steve Setty is the Graham Local Schools board president.