Lakewood School District Seeking $104 Million State Loan – Its Largest Ever

The Lakewood School District has proposed a $309 million budget for the 2024-2025 school year, which includes a request for a $104.1 million state loan to help balance the budget. This would bring the district’s total state loan debt to nearly $280 million.

The district’s business administrator, Kevin Campbell, presented the budget plan last week, citing reduced state aid and increased costs for non-public school transportation and out-of-district tuition as reasons for the loan request.

However, some school board members and a state-appointed fiscal monitor have expressed concerns about the district’s growing debt and the sustainability of relying on state loans. Robert Finger, the fiscal monitor, noted that the district’s loan repayment is already larger than some entire budgets in neighboring counties.

The proposed budget includes $26 million for loan repayments, a 53% increase over the current spending plan. The budget also includes increases in charter school funding, out-of-district tuition, and non-public school transportation.

The increasing debt load on the Lakewood School District will also result in further property tax hikes on Lakewood residents, exacerbating an already painful situation.

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