You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Champaign County school considers asking voters to raise taxes

Graham Local School leaders continue to discuss putting a levy on November’s ballot to pay for operating costs.

Superintendent Kirk Koennecke said the district has slashed its budget as much as it can and will eventually face cuts that will hurt the education of its students.

GRAHAM: Champaign County community rallies for boy with rare cancer

“This district went through a financial upheaval in 2011 and in 2012,” Koennecke said. “The district has had to cut a lot of money in its budget. That has put us in a tight spot.”

Graham’s five-year forecast says by 2019, the won’t be able to sustain it current operations without additional funding, he said. That’s because of the rising costs of school supplies, personnel and anticipated cuts in state aid, according to that forecast.

The district took in almost $3 million more than it spent in the fiscal year of 2014, according to its forecast, and $350,000 more in 2015. However, the five-year forecast shows that the the school district’s expenditures rose nearly $700,000 this fiscal year and are projected to rise in the next five years.

The five-year forecast is required by law and designed so leaders get a sense of where the district is financially. The forecast often projects worst-case scenarios but are important so schools can anticipate future issues.

READ: Champaign County students learning to fly, real-world skills

The district assembled a group of community leaders to come up with a plan and called it Graham 2020. In that plan, getting the school back on good financial footing is one of the top goals. One of the ways of doing so is asking voters for more funds, Koennecke said.

He and the board members are confident that a levy on November’s ballot would have a chance at passing. A random phone survey that was conducted in November 2016 asked 310 voters if they would support a levy over further school cuts.

“One of the questions was when should we go to seek operating funds, now or later,” he said. “We got a clear response this was better timing to do this now.”

He also said the sample of voters said they would prefer an income tax over a property tax.

The Graham Local School Board has until June to decide if they wish to go on the ballot in November, however Koennecke said he expects them to make a decision before the deadline.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

Library of Congress to host Gloria Gaynor disco party
Library of Congress to host Gloria Gaynor disco party

Historical texts and a disco ball?  They’re two items that you wouldn’t think to put together, but The Library of Congress will be the site of a disco in a few weeks. Gloria Gaynor, whose disco hit “I Will Survive” was added to the National Recording Registry last year, will headline the library’s &ldquo...
Want a tiny house for next to nothing?
Want a tiny house for next to nothing?

If you’re interested in a tiny home and have a tiny budget, this might be a giant opportunity for you. A bankruptcy auction in Alabama has more than two dozen dwellings in various states of completion up for grabs. The lots are up for bid online through April 4. Other items are available as well, including assorted tools and building materials...
Bar serves alcoholic drinks on coasters made from drunken drivers' crashed cars
Bar serves alcoholic drinks on coasters made from drunken drivers' crashed cars

A Canadian bar really wants its patrons to think twice before getting behind the wheel after a round of drinks.  According to Fox News, Toronto's The Emmet Ray now serves drinks on coasters that read, "This coaster used to be a car. That car never made it home." They're made from cars damaged in drunken-driving crashes. Sober-driving...
Government pulls man’s license plate saying it’s too rude
Government pulls man’s license plate saying it’s too rude

A Canadian man will have to come up with a new vanity license plate, or decide to go with the standard tag, after he was told his plate could be misinterpreted. >> Read more trending news Lorne Grabher has had his last name on his license plate for decades, but a few months ago received a letter from the Nova Scotia Registry of Motor Vehicles...
Teen who threw newborn baby out window won't serve any jail time
Teen who threw newborn baby out window won't serve any jail time

Antonia Lopez, a Nebraska teen who admitted to throwing her newborn baby out the window, won't be serving any jail time, the Omaha World-Herald reports. On Friday, Douglas County Juvenile Court Judge Christopher Kelly ordered Lopez to be placed on probation, live in a group home, take part in individual and family therapy, delete her Facebook...
More Stories