Westside voters approve levy override
Westside voters have approved a measure allowing District 66 to raise its levy ceiling. This will create additional funding allowing Westside Community Schools to retain high-quality teachers through competitive compensation, and to continue maintaining and striving for personalized learning and excellent education in all classrooms.
51.3 percent of voters favored the levy override, while 48.6 percent voted it down. An estimated 7,500 ballots were mailed in.
“We’re so grateful for our community that has listened to our call and demonstrated their commitment to high quality education and outstanding teachers,” said Board of Education President Beth Morrissette.
Funds generated from this levy override will help support the following goals of the District:
- Continuing to provide competitive compensation to our high quality teachers so that we do not lose them to neighboring, potentially higher paying, suburban districts
- Maintaining and striving for further excellence in classrooms in our neighborhood schools
- Maintaining counseling services for students with mental health/behavioral problems
- Preventing further reduction to classroom academic programs
- Preserving historically smaller class sizes
- Providing technology and digital learning for Westside learners
- Continuing career and vocational education programs
- Maintaining school library services
While Westside is at the higher end when compared to other Learning Community school districts, even with this levy override, District 66 is not the highest. Other Nebraska school districts are also currently researching and/or planning levy overrides. Westside’s levy override will be effective beginning FY 2019, taking effect during the 2018-2019 school year.
District 66 voters have now approved five levy overrides in the past 20 years. Previous levy overrides have allowed the District to provide programs above and beyond what it could without a levy override. The District’s current level of academic offerings and programming has produced impressive results. In 2017, Westside High School students scored 2.3 points higher on the ACT than the state average. Class of 2017 graduates accumulated an estimated $3 million dollars in college scholarships. Additionally, 84.5% of Westside students are reading at grade level or above.
“We are very excited,” said Morrissette. “This included a lot of support from a lot of our key stakeholders and supporters to understand the importance of the traditions that we have in our Westside community.”