New things are on the horizon for the Seymour R-II School District after its operating tax levy passed in Tuesday’s election.

“We’re very excited,” said Seymour R-II superintendent Steve Richards. “We discussed working on it in July and got it approved by the Seymour R-II School Board in August.”

The “yes” vote will increase the district’s operating tax levy by 75 cents per $100 assessed valuation for the purpose of future building projects and repairs, to fully fund current school programs, to cover needed student school supplies, to retain qualified certified and non-certified staff, and to fund maintenance needs and other operating expenses.

“We want to concentrate on renovations to our buildings,” said Richards. “Some of them have had a lot of wear and tear. The elementary and high school buildings were built in 1958, so instead of getting a new building, our plan is to just do renovating.”

With that, Richards said their main focus is renovations at the high school, such as the bathrooms. He noted they would also like to add more vocational programs for their students. 

“We want to provide students the tools they need to be successful,” said Richards. “We hope they can gain more hands-on experience in their career fields through these programs.”

In addition, the tax levy will help with expenses for student school supplies. According to Richards, this year, Seymour Middle School was covered as far as school supplies go, but he noticed a need at the Seymour Elementary School.

“The elementary school expenses for school supplies is heavy,” said Richard. “We want to alleviate the cost for parents by covering the school supplies and make it a little easier on them.”

In addition, the district will address retaining qualified certified and non-certified staff. 

“Our school district is trying to make it more competitive, as far as wages, so we can keep quality staff,” said Richards. “One of our priorities is taking care of our staff and faculty.”

With its approval by voters, the adjusted operating levy, with the elimination of the partial levy rollback, is estimated to be $3.50 per $100 of assessed valuation. The vote was 453 (63.71%) to 258 (36.29%) in favor of the increase. 

As a final note, Richards expressed his gratitude to the local committees, parents and patrons for their support.

“I want to say a big thank you to everyone who helped make this possible,” said Richards. “Dan Wehmer and the Care Committee did an excellent job keeping people informed about the levy. Julie Erwin, the Seymour R-II federal program director, put together events with the schools and the committees. I also want to say thank you to the Seymour R-II School Board and local organizations helped us out by giving feedback about it, so I’m just grateful to all of them for everything they’ve done.” 

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