Paris board rejects foundation’s request for $400,000 before Nov.

paris school bldgParis School Foundation representatives came to the Town Board Tuesday looking for a $400,000 shot in the arm for the Paris School District.

They got a pretty clear signal — though not a formal vote — that such a donation from the town’s $20 million plus reserves is unlikely before the school demonstrates its commitment to cost cutting by negotiating a teachers contract with substantial cost savings.

Teacher negotiations are scheduled to start Sept. 30. The School Board must pass a final budget and levy for the coming year before Nov. 1.

Town Board members also bristled at the suggestion that the town’s savings is a surplus, and said there are plans for the money like buying development rights to keep the town rural in character. Concerns were also expressed about whether the Pheasant Run Landfill, whose payments to the town make up most of the $20-plus million, will be able to continue to stay open in light of changes in the waste industry.

Afterwards, foundation President Bill Beth termed the exchange useful, but disappointing.

“I thought it was a good exchange,” Beth said.  “Obviously, I’m a little disappointed.”

Beth and other foundation representatives said they are sympathetic to the Town Board’s desire to see the School Board make significant changes in its financial picture.

“I don’t disagree with what they want to happen with the school,” Beth said.

Here ‘s some video:

Foundation representative Tom Werth explains the group’s funding request:

Supervisor Ron Kammerzelt was the first to say he doesn’t view the town’s $22 million as “surplus.” In his words:

Town Chairman Virgil Gentz called for changes in how the school board spends before the town can consider helping out:

Supervisor Kenneth Monson shares his view, first mentioning concerns about town residents who are not in the Paris School District and later saying he too wants to see what happens with teacher negotiations:

School board members Lisa Ashmus and Connie Bevry attended the meeting, but did not make statements.

No future meeting between the groups was discussed.



  1. Northwestern Mike says:

    Interesting meeting, just look at the attendance. 3 town board members and their lawyer, 3 foundation board members, 2 school board members, 3 Yes members, 2 news reporters, John Holloway and myself. I heard loud and clear from the town board no help by November 1 and the school had to solve it’s own financial problem.
    An unreported comment by John Holloway responding to comments at the Annual Meeting about the town being responsible for lack of growth and low enrollment caught my attention. John said housing has not decreased. I thought about it and he was correct. I know of two houses for sale and three vacant houses within one mile of my house. The homes are there, but no occupants. I wonder why.
    A comment about state funding only covering 20% of expenses also caught my attention. The argument was because Paris is property rich Paris school’s State Aid is being reduced 15% per year. TRUE.
    But this is not the whole story. Property values determine primary, secondary, and tertiary aid tax bases. State-aid is a percentage of shared cost. Shared costs are our nemesis, Expenses. Paris gets a smaller percentage of shared cost because of high property values. In primary and secondary cases, high shared-costs are good. But in the tertiary case, a large percentage of shared-cost is removed wiping out any potential secondary aid. This is bad. Aid is denied and redistributed to other districts and Paris gets, appropriately called, less Equalization aid.
    Because of this, Paris falls into the ‘penalty stage’, where we get only primary aid and 85% of the prior year’s general aid. Paris is rich, so money is given to less rich districts. This is where the statement ‘State-Aid is decreasing 15% per year’ comes from.

  2. Ian says:

    This is absolutely disgusting. The town has $20,000,000 that they are going to spend on keeping the town rural in character? Does rural involve a school system that doesn’t work? It’s the fact that they are fighting so hard to keep more people from living in Paris (which sounds rather strange but it’s what they’re doing) that is causing part of the school’s crisis. Less people means less tax revenue and less state aid for the school. If the Town of Paris wants to forcibly make Paris Elementary suck, they better help them when they need it. It’s completely sick that they would put “keeping the town rural” ahead of educating their children.

  3. Northwestern Mike says:

    I think you need to do more catching up on the Paris school issues. Read the past stories on Paris school. The school system works just fine. It just spends too much. It proposed to spend $3,131,471 for 182 student or $17,200 per student. The residents passed a $435,000 referendum which 90% goes to cover Post Employment Benefits of $390,000 for the teachers.
    Some residents say the town keeps more people from living in Paris, but as John Holloway stated, the number of homes has not decreased. I can attest that when I sent out fliers a dozen come back as vacant. There are homes, but they are vacant.
    Paris Elementary will bankrupt the town if the town falls into the trap of paying the schools bills. The school is a giant black hole of spending.
    My fliers should be available on westofthei website. Read them before making this conclusion.

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