Millard’s tax levy override vote passed on Tuesday.
Voters in Sarpy and Douglas counties approved a proposal from Millard Public Schools to approve a tax levy override that would raise property taxes by up to 9 cents per every $100 of tax valuation.
According to the Douglas County Election Commission, 19,422 or 62.53 percent of voters were for the proposal; 11,636 or 37% of votes were against. A total of 31,084 people voted.
The approval is expected to give Millard Public Schools, which has already made budget cuts, a cash fusion of about $9 million, which administrators say is crucial to keep staffing and maintain high-quality education programs in the district.
Superintendent Jim Sutfin says he found great relief in that the majority of people voted to support MPS. He adds that the efforts by parents and volunteers “were inspiring.”
“Our teachers are going to go back into the classrooms tomorrow, recognizing that there’s been an overwhelming amount of community support for the work they do,” said Sutfin.
Jeff Kutash, a Millard parent and co-chair of the levy override campaign, said he was glad the canvassing he and other parents paid off.
“I think we found out that people in our community really value education and are willing to dig into their pockets to pay a little extra to make sure that we maintain a high level of education for our young people,” said Kutash.
Although the proposal was approved, Sutfin and the school board realize they need to stabilize their budget.
"This levy is an insurance policy. We're only going to use it if our state funds don't come in or if property taxes don't. We're only using this to maintain the programs we already have,” said Mike Kennedy, president of the school board. "Budgets are tight for a lot of people. There's people who are on fixed incomes and all that i understand that the voted no. I think what the 63 percent that voted for the levy override said we trust the board of education, they’ve been frugal with our dollars, and I want to reach out to those who voted no and say, trust us, we'll spend the money wisely."
With the new override, administrators say they don’t anticipate using the full nine cents in the next school year.