Janesville school tax levy still unknown

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Frank Schultz
Friday, October 25, 2013

JANESVILLE—The annual public hearing on the Janesville School District's budget is set for Tuesday, but a key piece of information—the tax levy—won't be known until later.

The effect of a new state law that will lower the levies of many school districts still isn't known, the district's chief financial officer told a school board committee this week.

CFO Keith Pennington had originally estimated the levy would increase by 0.16 percent, to $36.13 million, if the board taxes to the maximum allowed under state restrictions.

However, it's now likely the levy will be less than last year's, Pennington told the board's finance committee Tuesday.

A last-minute law that spends $40 million this year to reduce school tax levies will help Janesville taxpayers, Pennington said, but he said data still are not available to calculate how much.

“There will be improvement, but to say there will 'X' dollars would be premature,” Pennington told the board's finance committee.

School boards normally must set their levies by Nov. 1, but the new law gives them more time to do so this year. Pennington said the board will need to hold a special meeting the week of Nov. 3 to approve the levy and the budget.

The budget includes a proposal by Superintendent Karen Schulte to reward all employees for the district's performance on the state report cards, in which Janesville outperformed all the other larger school districts in the state and all those in Rock County.

Schulte has asked for $600,000 for this purpose but has not announced how it would be distributed.

Even with the bonus pay, the preliminary $124.88 million budget would be a decrease of 0.96 percent in overall spending.


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