It has been a pleasure for the Fairfax R-3 School District to serve the Fairfax community. Our district consistently strives to keep an open, honest, and caring relationship with our students, families, and community stakeholders. We also work hard to be good stewards of the resources provided to the district and make students the center of our decision-making process. Because of this focus on students, we know that a strong community creates the healthiest environment for our students. We honor the role we play in the local community and are proud of the community we have within and around our school.
The pursuit of good stewardship has led our board to examine the needs of our district. This fall we have evaluated the facilities and budget and found that our district needs work in many areas. In the 2017-2018 budget, the district was forced to operate at a $24,000.00 deficit. This deficit exists even though our school budget is centered around what is essential for the education of Fairfax students. The Fairfax budget is allocated to ensure the proper funding of school programs, educational resources, personnel, and student activities. A small part is used for upkeep of the building and facility repairs and this overage has allowed us, essentially, to pay the bills and keep the lights on.
In the meantime, the budget has allowed little room for building improvements and structural maintenance. While our facility hearkens to the history and traditions of our town, as time moves on, the needs of our educational facility change and increase. Our gym, the subject of deferred maintenance and water damage, needs repair. Our lunchroom needs to be updated due to wear and tear over the last 60 years. Our windows and high school science classroom need to be updated for safety and efficiency. Our transportation fleet is in need of constant repair and the exterior of our building needs tuck-pointing and sealing.
While the majority of this new funding would be used to take care of much needed deferred maintenance, we also struggle to provide appropriate pay for teachers and support personnel. Our staff, which occupies the front-line of our work in the Fairfax school district volunteer, commit, and consistently work to provide the best education and best community partnership that we can offer. Their pay would also be increased, allowing us to keep up with our neighbors in Northwest Missouri.
Out of this great sense of need and stewardship, the Fairfax R-3 Board of Education has approved Proposition Commitment for the April 3, 2018, ballot. This measure would increase the tax levy for our district from 4.0438 to 4.7848 per $100.00 of assessed valuation. The board came to this decision after a thorough review of the district finances, facilities, and long conversations about the responsible management of community resources. When combined with estimated revenue from new wind farm taxes, Proposition Commitment will generate an estimated, additional $200,000 for the Fairfax R-3 School District in the 2018-2019 school year.
Community members are welcome to attend informational meetings regarding this levy each Tuesday night in March up to and including March 27. These meetings are designed to answer questions about the district, its successes, and its needs. They will be held in the Fairfax school library, with each session starting at 5:00 p.m. We look forward to engaging with community members in conversation regarding our school.
Jeremy Burright Ed.D.
Fairfax R-3 School District