ROSEBURG, Ore. (KMTR) - The Roseburg School District filed a levy today that could keep all schools open next year.
The school board met last night to vote on the finalized version of a local option levy; members passed the levy and filed it with the elections office today.
Because of budget cuts, the board says if Roseburg voters do not pass the levy in May, the district will have to close one of the elementary schools. School board members came to that decision earlier this year because of declining enrollment and lack of funding to pay for maintenance, curriculum and technology.
The board hopes the $6 million levy will pass, which would mean an average yearly increase of $35 in taxes per household for the next five years.
Opponents say they do not want to pay the extra taxes.
Firm Ground, the group behind the levy, argues that closing a school would affect all residents in Roseburg.
"Schools are such a cornerstone of the economy," said Laurie Way, Chair of Firm Ground. "When you have kids; when you have a population that has a good school system, businesses and young professionals want to move into a community because they see potential for their future."
Way argues that the levy is about helping the entire school district. She says closing a school is a small part of a larger issue.
"School closure is simply a symptom of a bigger picture of a $1.2 million deficit," Way said.
If the levy does not pass, the board plans to close an elementary school. The board will decide on April 11 which school would be closed in the event of the levy failing. On Wednesday night board members narrowed the choice down to two: Melrose or Rose Elementary schools.
School board members say because of the District's deficit, they cannot guarantee that all schools will still remain open even if the levy does pass. They say the levy is to help boost all schools with maintenance issues, curriculum and technology.