Janesville47.4°

Parkview school residents likely face referendums in April

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GINA R. HEINE
December 23, 2009
— Declining enrollment and state funding cuts are forcing the Parkview School District to seek more money from voters, likely in two referendums in April.

The school board has not voted on dollar amounts or wording yet, but it will at its Jan. 18 or Feb. 15 meeting, District Administrator Steve Lutzke said.


The first question will ask taxpayers to exceed the state revenue caps for the next four years, possibly by about $600,000 each year, he said. That money would be spent on operations and technology improvements.


The second question will ask voters for about $2.8 million over 20 years for the most pressing capital projects, he said.


District enrollment was down 48 students this year because the kindergarten class only has 56 students compared to last year’s graduating class of 91, Lutzke said. The district projects it will lose 30 to 40 students in each of the next three to four years, he said.


The district also received about $340,000 less in state aid this year, he said.


Officials initially considered asking for $800,000 a year.


“When we looked at the tax impact on our homeowners, we just did not feel comfortable asking for that amount of money, so we’re scaling that back and going to do what we can to reduce our budget through reductions and costs,” Lutzke said.


Even if an approved referendum provided $600,000 each year, the district would have to cut about $300,000 each year to make up the deficit, he said.


If approved, the question asking to exceed the revenue cap would increase taxes on a $100,000 home by $140 for each of the four years, Lutzke said. The capital improvements question would add $28 to that home tax bill for each of the 20 years.


About half of the $2.8 million referendum would go toward installing new roofs at Footville Elementary and the junior/senior high schools. The remainder would upgrade all bathrooms in the district to become handicap accessible, replace inefficient windows and lighting, add HVAC controls in all buildings and provide a new boiler and heating system at Footville Elementary.


Lutzke said the district and board still are working on a list of possible cuts if the referendums fail.


“We’ll share that with the community after the board has a chance to approve those things,” he said.



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