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USD 489 drops Schools for Fair Funding membership





USD 489 board of education members went against administrators’ recommendation and voted Monday night to discontinue its membership in the Schools for Fair Funding organization.

The school district was a charter member or the organization.

“We’ve belonged to that organization since 1989 and, you can see, we’ve paid a total of $426,000 in membership fees,” Superintendent Will Roth said.

USD 489 was assessed $9,815.40 for base membership and $8,272.98 for litigation support for FY2014.

More than 50 school districts currently belong to the organization.

It’s helped increase base state aid per pupil and lower local mill levies, Roth said.

“The payoff from this group has been good,” he said. “I believe we need to continue to have a voice with that group.”

Schumacher said he understands what the organization has done, but the district will benefit whether it pays dues or not.

“We’ve certainly done our part being a member since 1989,” he said.

Lance Bickle made the motion not to belong to the organization since the district isn’t “seeing any real clear benefit out of paying this, or getting any additional money back out of having done this.”

A domino effect could begin, and “pretty soon there is no SFF organization, and nobody is going to benefit,” Richard Cain, deputy superintendent, said in defending the administration‘s view.

“What I have a problem with is using taxpayers money to sue taxpayers,” Marty Patterson said.

The motion not to belong to the organization passed unanimously.