Janesville34.9°

Brodhead school residents to face referendum in February

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GINA R. HEINE
December 17, 2009
— If a Brodhead School District referendum set for February fails, the district would have to cut at least 11 positions and eliminate all middle and high school sports and extracurricular activities.

Thatís something Superintendent Chuck Deery doesnít want to do.


ďIf we have to make these cuts itís going to have some very dramatic impact on kids,Ē he said.


The school board unanimously approved the wording of the Feb. 16 referendum at a meeting Wednesday night. Voters will be asked to exceed the revenue caps for a total of $3.59 million over four years by this schedule:


-- 2010-2011: $635,000


-- 2011-2012 $810,000


-- 2012-2013: $855,000


-- 2013-2014: $1,285,000


The district has been cutting an average of $200,000 the last six years and is beyond the point of making more cuts without a major impact on students, Deery said.


ďItís kind of devastating cuts at this point, and we just canít do that,Ē he said.


The board knows the cuts would be tough, but the economy also creates a challenge for taxpayers. This is why officials are putting the issue to a referendum, he said.


Administrators and board members have done what they can to lessen the tax impact, including refinancing debt on the elementary schoolís heating project to extend payments out a couple years, Deery said.


The high school also will be paid off this year, a factor officials considered in the referendum timing.


This yearís tax rate is $8.45 per $1,000 of assessed home value, which is one of the lowest rates in the area, Deery said. If the referendum is approved, the tax rate would increase from $8.85 in the first year gradually up to $10.73 in the fourth year, he said.


The school board has come up with a list of budget-saving ideas over the last couple years, he said. This spring, the board, staff and others submitted more ideas. The board has been working on possible cuts ever since, but has not prioritized the list, he said.


If the referendum fails, Deery said the tentative list of cuts would eliminate:


-- Three elementary teaching positions


-- Three teaching positions between the middle and high schools


-- Two elective programs and teachers at the middle or high schools


-- One guidance position


-- Two administrative positions


-- Long-distance learning program


-- All middle and high school extracurricular activities (sports, clubs, etc.)


Most of those cuts would happen in the 2010-11 school year, though some cuts would wait until 2011-12, Deery said.



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