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Editorial: Westside has demonstrated its competence, justifying new approval of levy override
Continue The Levy Override

Editorial: Westside has demonstrated its competence, justifying new approval of levy override

Westside High School

Omaha Westside High School at 8701 Pacific St.

The Westside school district has a history of reaching for high standards. Since 1998, Westside voters have approved levy overrides that have allowed the district to exceed the state-imposed limit on the general fund property tax levy. As a result, the district — which does not receive “equalization” aid from the state — has had the financial ability to implement a wide-ranging series of efforts to boost academic quality.

Modular scheduling at Westside High School, for example, involves higher costs but provides students with more flexibility and gives staff more time to work with students. The district helps pay for its teachers to pursue master’s degrees — a policy that requires higher spending but strengthens the district’s ability in recruiting staff.

The district is now asking Westside residents to approve continuance of the levy override. Voter approval would serve the district well. The vote to decide the 15-cent levy override is by mail only, with ballots due by Tuesday.

The Westside school board has stood out for its competence, including in its practical budget management. Westside voters can retain their confidence in the district’s continuance of budget discipline while pursuing important initiatives to maximize educational opportunity for students.

The override vote, involving a 15-cent increase over the state levy limit, would generate an additional $225 from a household with a house valued at $150,000. The Westside board has kept the district’s levy below the $1.20 allowed under the current override. For the current school year, the total general fund tax request is $1.1650 per $100 valuation, which is lower than during the two previous school years.

“We’re simply asking voters to keep in place what has been in place for many years,” notes Doug Krenzer, president of the school board.

Westside has demonstrated its commitment to high standards and to sound budget management. Approval from voters for the levy override is needed to help the district continue that progress.

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