Millard school funding vote to take place later this month

Millard Public Schools is putting a tax levy limit question before voters next month.
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 6:51 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – About 75,000 voters in the Millard school district will be receiving a ballot in the mail later this month.

It’s a yes or no question about whether the district should be allowed to continue to levy taxes greater than what the current law allows. The district’s five-year permission to do that is expiring and it wants to continue to have that power for another five years.

Signs all around the Millard school district urge people to “Vote Yes”. It’s not so much that the district wants more money but instead, it does not want to lose the funding it currently receives.

The average home price in Millard is $300,000. That homeowner is now paying just under $120 in additional school taxes each year as the district is using 3.79 cents of its override authority. If voters say yes it could use up to 9 cents, which would increase the typical tax bill by $270 instead of $120.

Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom, which is a watchdog group that in the past has been against school bond issues, is encouraging voters to approve the levy override.

“First of all, the Millard school district over the years has been frugal with taxpayer dollars. Also, we’ve taken a look at what the levy override would pay for and we believe the items they want the extra money for are necessities,” said Doug Kagan, President of the Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom.

The district has been urging residents to watch a presentation from Superintendent Dr. John Schwartz on the school district website.

Schwartz warns that if voters say no, the district will have to find about $5 million in cuts to staff and programs. In addition, Schwartz points out that Millard currently does not even spend half of its upper limit of the levy override.

Douglas County Election Commissioner Brian Kruse provided a sample ballot to 6 News. The ballot will be arriving in people’s mailboxes the week of Feb. 21.

All ballots must be turned in by Tuesday, March 14 at 5 p.m. The counting will then begin.