Voters say yes, to reallocate funds to help the school district with budget shortfall

Hastings, Neb., (KSNB) It was a yes, as voters approved the special tax levy override to reallocate funds for the Hastings Public Schools.

School board members are breathing a sigh of relief as the school district will be getting some help with their $2.5 Million budget shortfall.

For the past few weeks signs were posted all across Hastings to make people aware of the issue.

Tuesday's vote was the one school officials were hoping for.

"Relief, I was very worried about what what the Hastings Public Schools would be able to do and what it might require if this didn't pass, so this was quite a relief," said Craig Kautz, Hastings Superintendent of Schools.

Jeff Schneider, Director of Finance, had this to say, "If we were not successful on this, there would have been some drastic programming and staffing cuts that would have not been good for kids, so we are extremely relieved tonight."

The budget shortfall is a result state cuts for education.

"The state of Nebraska has had some financial challenges. Because we have very little land and we are up against a levy lid we cannot increase our local receipts and as the state decreases the amount of money they give us and our expenses continue to grow, it creates a gap," adds Schneider.

The school district officials also plan on using other avenues to get things in the black. They will make some budget reductions in other areas, use some cash reserves and defer some maintenance repairs.

This actually provides $ 750,000 for us to use. This first year we will be able to offset our draw down on our cash reserve but by doing that we help ourselves in the long run to protect programming," adds Kautz.

Some were afraid the language on the ballot was misleading but they say with a great team of volunteers, they were able to get the explanations out.

The city of Hastings is tremendously supportive of education and I have always thought of this as an education community and a smart community. This tells me this is the right thing to do for our kids," continues Kautz.

The majority of voters supported the issue, with 61% voting in favor.