Fox Point-Bayside passes decreased budget, levy
District projects deficit in coming year
Fox Point — District taxes are projected to decrease in the coming year after the Fox Point-Bayside School Board, in conjunction with three district voters, approved a reduced 2013-14 budget and tax levy last week at the district's annual meeting.
The district budget is projected to decrease 5.3 percent since last year to approximately $13.2 million, while the tax levy is expected to decrease 2.6 percent to about $9 million.
For district taxpayers, the reduced levy means an estimated tax rate of $8.01 per $1,000 of assessed property value, though the exact rate won't be known until the state Department of Revenue certifies district property values in mid-October. The 2012-13 tax rate was $8.23 per $1,000 of assessed property value, meaning a district taxpayer with a $300,000 home would pay $66 less than last year.
Though overall expenses are expected to decrease by about $750,000 in relation to the 2012-13 school year, the district is expected to use approximately $350,000 in reserves to make up for budget shortfalls. The move marks the fifth straight year the district has used cash on hand to shore up an imbalanced budget.
"We simply can't continue to do that," Superintendent Vance Dalzin said. "We have to keep a healthy fund balance."
During budget deliberations last year the School Board began talks about bringing a referendum before voters in spring 2013 to supplement the district budget over a 10-year period, but ultimately didn't go through with the idea. As preliminary budget discussions carried on over the summer the referendum idea again surfaced due to the apparent options of making cuts, continuing to spend down district reserves, or using a referendum to expand revenues.
While the board hasn't decided whether to go forward with the spring 2014 referendum, board President Alice Lawton said it will be an ongoing topic of conversation if the district wants to maintain its quality of education — which recently earned Fox Point-Bayside a place among eight other top-performing districts statewide on Department of Public Instruction report cards — in the coming years.
"We're still in the process of analyzing our financial position and getting numbers," Lawton said. "The difficulty is that this is something that every public school is facing. Districts are going to have to come up with some way to meet that shortfall, and there's not a lot of wiggle room."
BY THE NUMBERS
approximate 2013-14 district budget, a decrease of 5.3 percent since last year
approximate district levy, a decrease of 2.6 percent
estimated district tax rate per $1,000 of assessed property value
estimated district tax bill on a $300,000 home
estimated budget deficit
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