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      Levy increase on Morgan R1 ballot

      A tax levy increase will be on the Tuesday's ballots.

      Morgan County voters will decide Tuesday whether to pass a $.68 tax levy increase to fund improvements in the Morgan R-1 school district.

      According to Superintendent John French, the district's current tax levy of $2.75 is the required state minimum and tied for the lowest in Missouri. Morgan R-1's operating levy has not been increased since 1993.

      Rich says "Proposition Kids" (Keep Improving District Schools) would help fund:

      Technology: the district's computers do not currently meet state accountability testing requirements.

      Textbooks: the district's current textbooks are outdated and do not meet new standards.

      Transportation: the district has cut three bus routes in the last few years and has not bought a new bus in over three years. Three of the district's buses failed inspection this year.

      Lowering class size: the district has cut 24.25 full-time positions in the last two years and needs techers for upper level courses.

      "We're using it for all the critical things. It's nothing extravagant. We're not trying to put astroturf on a football field or something like that. It's for the key things that we need to provide a quality education for our kids," French said.

      The district has faced financial woes for years.

      "This is my third year in the district, and in my first year I inherited a deficit spending budget of about $1.4 million, which for us is over 20 percent of our total budget," French said.

      "So we've had to cut...in the past two years we've cut over 20 percent of our faculty and staff across the board."

      French said the job cuts were necessary to keep the district afloat, but came at a cost.

      "Our Title I and Title II funds amount to about $350,000 a year, and because we made such drastic cuts and our expense per pupil has gone down...in other words our local and state money, we're spending less on each student...they're going to reduce our federal money," French said.

      "So starting next fiscal year they're cutting about $12,000 from what the federal government has been sending us."

      To calculate how much your property taxes would increase if the levy increase is passed, you can click here. Remember to input your assessed property value, not the market value.

      There are also four seats on the school board up for election on the ballot.