Big Foot budget relatively unchanged
The school district's proposed 2008-09 budget includes a 2.8 percent increase in the tax levy, said District Administrator Dorothy Kaufmann. The additional dollars would go to the district-operated recreation department to expand the popular fitness center, which since its opening in 2002 has outgrown its current space at the high school.
"It's heavily used, and basically it's too small to accommodate the number of people using it," she said.
Kaufmann said the district plans to expand the fitness center and install new exercise equipment. The district also plans to relocate the recreation office across the hall from the fitness center and convert the former office to a classroom, she said.
But taxpayers won't really feel the punch of the projects on their tax bills.
Kaufmann said that despite the tax levy increase, the proposed budget includes a 4.2 percent drop in the tax rate and 1.2 percent decrease in expenses, a dip she attributes to refinancing the debt incurred from a $15 million referendum passed in 2000 to renovate and expand the school building.
"I think our responsibility is to try to always look at how we can benefit our taxpayers and our community," she said. "Clearly the economic situation is different now than it was when the bonds were secured, and we thought it was prudent to take a look at reducing that when interest rates were low."
She said the money the district saved by refinancing compensates the extra money allocated for improvements to the recreation department.
Kaufmann said overall the budget is tight.
"We looked at each line item," she said. "We spent a lot of time trimming and we did have to trim.
"But I think (the budget) still will allow us to do the things we need to do serve our families and our students."
BIG FOOT HIGH SCHOOL BUDGET
A look at the proposed 2008-09 budget for the Big Foot Union High School District:
Highlights: The district refinanced its long-term debt, which allowed it to allocate money to the recreation department for an expansion of the fitness center with virtually no impact on taxpayers.
What's next?: Residents can weigh in on the budget at the district's annual meeting at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27, in the lecture hall at Big Foot High School, 401 Devils Lane, Walworth.
This year: $10 million
Last year: $10.12 million
This year: $8.05 million
Last year: $7.84 million
(Per $1,000 of assessed valuation)
This year: $3.03
Last year: $3.16
Note: Percent changes calculated on whole numbers.