The Manhattan School District will hold its Annual School Election on May 4, 2021, and will include a Trustee election and a request for a General Fund operating levy for the high school district.

The high school has not passed an operating levy since 2014. Last year, the district ran an elementary and a high school district operating levy. The elementary district levy passed and the high school district levy failed. These were the first levy elections since the 2016 bond election.

Although the elementary district could ask their voters for a General Fund levy request of $27,654.77 based on their ANB (Average Number Belonging), their Board has decided not to go to the elementary district voters this year as a thank you and appreciation for approving the levy request last spring.

The anticipated high school budget shortfall, without a levy passing, will be $100,000-$130,000 minimum, depending on negotiations with teachers. This anticipated high school budget shortfall does not include other operating expense increases, including utilities, curriculum, professional development, supplies, and athletic team transportation.

The requested amount for the High School General Fund operating levy is $143, 673.16. The estimated increase in mills is 9.73, which amounts to an additional $13.14 annually per $100,000 of home assessed market value. The mills and impact on taxpayers is estimated and will be lower based on their anticipated taxable value increasing. The district will know their final taxable value in August 2021, prior to the final budget being adopted by the Board.

In addition to the levy request, there are two Trustee seats open this year. Incumbent Matt White and newcomers Bryan Petersen and Joel Pitsch have filed for the open seats.

Brian Ayers is superintendent of Manhattan School District 3.