Stillwater residents approved a proposed $29,988,245 budget for the 2023-24 school year by a vote of 416 to 164, a 71.7% approval, on May 16, 2023.
They also elected Darrell Hazen (297 votes), Valerie Masterson (266 votes) and Joshua Eiffe (204 votes) to the Board of Education for three-year terms to run from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2026.
Board candidate David Giso received 165 votes, candidate Brandon Dingeman received 162 votes and candidate Cassandra Smith received 143 votes. Write-in candidate Ashley Zecca received 193 votes; write-in candidate Kim Steinmuller received one vote; write-in candidate Amy Campion received one vote; and write-in candidate Melissa Zodnick received one vote.
The 2023-24 budget preserves existing programs and services, includes the purchase of three new school buses, and includes funding for debt service payments, salary increases for faculty and staff, and increases in employee benefit costs. Spending under the budget increases by 5.06 percent, or $1,443,640, over the current-year budget. The increase in spending is being driven by increased salaries for faculty and staff; increased costs associated with health insurance and other employee benefits; and increases in utilities, diesel, gasoline, and fuel oil.
The projected tax levy—the total amount of money a school district raises through property taxes— increases by 4.48% under the approved budget. This increase is below Stillwater’s maximum allowable tax levy increase as determined by the state’s tax levy “cap” formula (6.12%).
District officials estimate that school tax rates, which are the amount of taxes residents pay per $1,000 of assessed property value, will increase by approximately 1.93% for residents in the district. Final school tax rates are set in August when assessment rolls are finalized.
Stillwater Public Library proposition approved, trustees elected
District residents approved by a vote of 356 to 227 a proposed $348,757 budget for the Stillwater Public Library, separate and apart from the school district budget, to fund the operating budget of the library. The Stillwater Public Library has the same service boundary as the school district, however the library is not governed by the district.
Voters also elected Rachel Womble (348 votes) and Linda Tracy (298 votes) to the public library’s board of trustees for three-year terms running from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2026, and Joel Lombardi (272 votes) for a term running from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2025.