Thursday, March 13, 2003


Eyebrows were raised Tuesday by the 77 percent "no" vote in Valley, Neb., against the school district's bid to override the Legislature's lid on the property tax levy. The 540-160 vote may reflect continuing dissatisfaction with academic shortcomings in the district, the failure to merge with neighboring Waterloo when the opportunity arose, and a "disconnect" in the administrative offices with the link between declining enrollment and the need for fiscal conservatism.

The Valley "no" vote joins a similar significant turndown in Pender (552-280) and a closer "no" vote in Axtell, 246-202.

Although there have been recent voter approvals, too -- a levy override in Diller-Odell School District and a bond issue for a junior-senior high in Battle Creek -- it just may be that the window of opportunity for school districts to avoid budget cuts is now just about closed.

Consultant Paul Dorr of northern Iowa (dcs@iowatelecom.net), who was active in defeating the Omaha Public Schools override election last fall, now has chalked up 12 victories in 14 tries, assisting local citizens' committees in defeating local school bond issues and spending-lid overrides. He is seeking more assignments and has an impressive track record, so if you have a big school spending vote coming up . . . hint, hint.

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