Passage of Prop 2 saves job at Van Buren school

VAN BUREN, MO (KFVS) - Van Buren R-1 Superintendent Jeff Lindsey says since voters approved Proposition 2 Tuesday, some staff members will keep their jobs, and some programs now move off the chopping block.

According to Lindsey, passing Proposition 2 means an additional $170,000 a year for the school district. That just about makes up for the money they are losing from the state and federal government now that stimulus funds and other money has run out. Without making up the difference, the loss would have meant big cuts for the district.

"It would've hit programs," said Principal Mark Wood. "Elementary teachers would have had to combine classes, athletics, everything was on the table."

Woods say they would have had no choice but to make cuts.

"There still will be cuts but not as deep now," said Wood. "This saved jobs."

Proposition 2 passed with 68 percent of voter approval. The measure increased the property tax by $.68. That brings the tax up to $3.43 from $2.75.

"We thought it was worth it," said parent, Erica Griffin.

Griffin is a parent of three and head of a committee to educate the public about the proposition.

"We didn't want to lose programs," said Griffin. "We didn't want to see classes double."

Griffin says parents are thankful the community saw the need for the school. This year the district already made $300,000 in cuts including half a dozen positions.

"Of course, I'm very concerned about my job," said Ashley Freeze, 2nd grade teacher. "But students are top priority. I've got 17 kids and they need my attention. It would have been hard had class sizes increased to 35."

Now, students and staff want to thank the community for supporting the school.

"I'm really proud to see that Van Buren feels education is a top priority," said Freeze.

Van Buren school leaders say maintaining the programs that have earned them state and national recognition is key to student success.

The levy increase runs for the next five years. Communities like Ellington and Lesterville also pay a similar rate of $3.43.

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