Gladstone school millage: Board preps for worst-case scenario

GLADSTONE – Preparing for what they believe is a worst-case scenario, the Gladstone School Board approved a resolution allowing the district to reintroduce a millage proposal if it fails during a special election later this month.

If the proposal – which was originally introduced during the Nov. 6 General Election – fails a second time on Feb. 26, the district may introduce the issue a third time on May 7. The resolution Monday night was necessary because the May 7 date is the earliest date for another special election, and the deadline to file for that election is Feb. 26.

“It’s an essential part of our operating millage. It’s an absolute do or die situation for us,” said Gladstone Superintendent Jay Kulbertis of the proposal.

The proposed millage renewal would allow the school district to levy the statutory rate of 18 mils on all property, except for principal residences and other property exempt by law. The 18 mils are required for the district to receive its per pupil foundation allowance.

If the proposal is approved and levied, the school district will collect approximately $1,097,402 in 2014 for operating purposes.

“We do not have a long term plan in place if this does not pass, but we will meet to strategize and put some recommendations together if that’s the case,” said Kulbertis. The proposal is an extension of an existing millage, which has been in place since 1994. If the proposal passes the 18 mils would be renewed for nine years, between 2014 and 2022, but if the proposal fails the current 18 mills levied would expire with the 2013 tax levy.

When first presented to voters in November, the millage received 2,652 votes against and 1,846 votes in support of the proposal. A second Gladstone Area School District operating millage was also defeated.

The second millage will not be reintroduced on Tuesday’s ballot nor on any subsequent ballots.

The resolution Monday night does not guarantee a special election will occur on May 7 – even if the proposal fails on Feb 26.

“It just keeps your options open if there is an unsuccessful election in February, and you chose to have an election at the next available date,” said Kulbertis.

Board members believe the proposal may fair better when not on the ballot with presidential and state elections.

“Think that there is, from my end, a suspicion of enough noise (during the General Election) that it’s worth doing this again as a separate issue on its own and to get more information out there and to see what happens in this new environment,” said Board Trustee Bill Milligan.

Board Vice President Steve O’Driscoll resolved he would support a May 7 election if the proposal fails Tuesday.

“Others have said, ‘we keep saying no, and you just keep asking until you get yes.’ Well, yeah, if it’s gonna be the cost of our kid’s education, yes we are going to keep trying until we get the yes. Sorry about that. You’ll keep costing yourself money for us to hold elections until we get the yes. We’re not gonna settle for anything less for the kids,” he said.

More information about the proposal is available on the district’s website at