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Tripp-Delmont to vote on opt-out today

TRIPP -- Residents of the Tripp-Delmont School District will vote today whether to continue a $300,000 opt-out.

"I've had a few parents contact me that they are working to just make sure people are aware this is a reauthorization of the current opt-out and not an increase in taxes," said Superintendent Lynn Vlasman.

He understands residents are concerned about the optout, but Vlasman said he's confident the vote will prove the majority wants the best for the district.

An opt-out is an action taken by a school board to raise more revenue than the state's property-tax freeze would otherwise allow.

Kenneth Peters, Delmont, circulated a petition against the opt-out, which prompted today's election.

"There's a lot of upset people. It seems like they try to shove (the opt-out) down our throats right away," he said. "We wanted to see what we could do about it."

Peters, and others like him, are against the higher taxes to support a dwindling school district. Currently, the district is adding on to the school, which doesn't seem reasonable, Peters said.

The school has already made cuts for the 2011-12 school year. Vlasman said the board has cut the part-time counselor and part-time custodian, and one teacher will be half-time and another will be four-fifths. However, the board succeeded in not cutting any core or extracurricular programs.

"We're monitoring supplies to see if we can reduce in those areas," Vlasman said. "And there're a few changes in schedule to minimize some travel."

He added that if the public votes against the opt-out, the district will have to go back to make additional cuts, which could include four or five teachers.

The polls are open in Delmont and Tripp from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.