Janesville52.3°

School board sharpening its tax-cutting knives

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
October 26, 2007

The Janesville School Board may trim a projected 19 percent tax hike.


Officials told the board Tuesday that the 2007-08 levy would increase by 19 percent over last year for two major reasons:


-- The district will start paying back the referendum bond issue that is paying for the construction at Craig and Parker High schools.


-- The new state budget did not include an expected increase in equalization aid to school districts.


The state budget did, however, increase the school levy tax credit, which will reduce the amount property owners pay.


But the board could make it easier on taxpayers by cutting its budget or by using a reserve fund called the “fund balance” to pay some of the bills.


It’s not likely the board will choose to cut the budget, President Debra Kolste said Thursday.


Business Director Doug Bunton also thinks cutting at this stage of the game would be difficult because so many of this year’s financial commitments are already made.


But Bunton suggested Tuesday that the board could use the fund balance, which was at a healthy $26 million-plus June 30.


Comptroller Lauri Clifton said several board members had expressed interest in ways to shrink the levy.


“Yes, we’re working up some options for them,” she said.


“I think the board members will want to hear all the possibilities,” Kolste said.


The board will consider its options when it meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Educational Services Center, 527 S. Franklin.


Then, the board will set the levy.



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