School board pleased, budget OKed|
With only slight dissension, the Antigo school board Tuesday approved a 2013-14 budget that will increase taxes by just under 8 percent.
At a special meeting, the board unanimously passed a spending plan for the current school year totaling $30.9 million, topped by a general fund budget of $26.4 million. The remaining portions of the budget include $464,000 in community service funds, which cover operation of the Clara R. McKenna Aquatic Center, and dollars for special education program financed through state and federal sources.
The vote on the accompanying resolution to approve a tax levy for total purposes of $9.058 million passed on a 7-1 vote with Clark Palmer opposed.
Prior to the vote, board members said they were pleased that, due to last-minute additions of state aid dollars and budget reductions, the levy increase had been trimmed from over 10 percent to just under 8 percent.
“I had a lot of problems with 10 percent,” board member Tim Fuller said. “This isn’t ideal, but it’s a good deal right now.”
“I think we’re good with what we did,” Jim Schulz said. “I’m happy with it.”
Beth Bockes said the board must not lose sight of the big picture.
“Let’s remember what all this money is going for,” she said. “It’s going for our children’s education and that is worth paying for.”
The tax rate is estimated at $8.54 per $1,000 of equalized valuation, up 60 cents, or 7.76 percent.
That means that the owner of a $100,000 home can expect to pay $854 to cover Antigo school district operations, a $60 increase.
The school district levy represents only a portion of the overall tax bill. Dollars for the county, technical college district, state and municipality or town must all be added before the final tally can be determined.
Director of Business Services Mary Jo Fibrandt walked the board through the package one final time, noting that plan includes $1.1 million in reductions, including the loss of 15 1/2 staff members.
It also trims $100,000 from the community service fund for elementary athletics, custodial and Volm Theater salaries, placing them into the general fund instead.
The levy is also lower than initially estimated due to a last minute infusion of state aid dollars touted as property tax relief by Gov. Scott Walker and the state legislature. That added $40 million to the overall state aid formula, boosting Antigo’s number by about $110,000 from the state’s initial certified amount.
Although the levy numbers are up from last year, they remain lower than 2011-12, when the district collected $9.8 million and had a tax rate of $9.24. Last year’s levy dove due to the payoff of the Middle School debt.
In a related matter, the board discussed plans to pay for deferred maintenance projects at the seven elementary schools using money from the district’s fund balance.
“The children are in these schools now,” Fuller said. ‘Some of these issues need to be taken care of now.”
Action was delayed until after a maintenance report by Supervisor of Building and Grounds Tim Prunty in November.
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