Residents approve slight drop in Shorewood School District levy
Increase in enrollment, state aid help lower rate
Shorewood - Shorewood residents can expect a modest decrease in the tax rate under the School District's proposed 2012-13 budget.
Residents in attendance at the district's annual meeting on Monday voted to adopt a resolution setting the tax levy at approximately $18 million - a 1.62 percent decrease from the 2011-12 tax levy, with the School Board approving a projected $22 million operating budget.
Based on the equalized valuation of the village, the tax rate is estimated at $13.77 per $1,000 of equalized value, a decrease of 23 cents from the previous year. At that rate, the school district portion of the annual property tax bill for the owner of a home valued at $300,000 would amount to about $4,131.
Business Services Director Mark Boehlke noted that the district relies on the property tax levy to provide about two-thirds of its annual operational revenues, making the district more dependent on property taxes than other districts that receive more state aid.
However, unlike the past several years in which Shorewood saw a decrease in state aid, Boehlke said, this year the district is anticipating a more than 17 percent boost.
Resident enrollment increases
Also noteworthy is an increase in resident enrollment, by 33 students or about 2 percent, Boehlke said. This is the third year in a row the number of resident students has increased, he said, reversing a trend of declining resident enrollment.
Budget projections could still change, though, Boehlke stressed, pending final figures from the state due in mid October. The final budget likely will include additional personnel expenses for new hires to help handle increased student enrollment.
At the request of board member David Cobb, Boehlke also provided an overview of staff recommendations incorporated into the budget, including the elimination of a library secretary position, addition of a development director position, hiring of a director of instruction, and addition of $25,000 for equipment replacement/maintenance.
Saving money on continuing ed
Not currently included in the budget is the elimination of payment for continuing education course credits for teachers, an estimated reduction of $28,000, Boehlke said.
"Although this is a budget that reflects those things, the fact that the board hasn't specifically approved or disapproved any of them doesn't mean that it's going to happen," board member Michael Mishlove noted. "It just means that the budget contemplates the money or lack of money for those things."
Following approval of the 2012-13 tax levy and budget, residents also voted to fix 2012-13 School Board salaries at their current annual level of $1,000 for members and $1,300 for the board president, in addition to providing each with a family fitness club membership, as well as to allow the reimbursement of up to $3,000 per member in traveling expenses, and to authorize the School District to sell district equipment as necessary.
The School Board will adopt the official 2012-13 budget at its meeting Oct. 23.
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