Janesville School Board member wants all options on budget table

Print Print
Saturday, November 5, 2011
— Just because the board voted not to close an elementary school next year doesn’t mean administration shouldn’t consider other building changes.

That’s the message Janesville School Board member Lori Stottler wants to get across Tuesday at the board’s regular meeting. The board should give direction to administration to consider all options when seeking to close an estimated $9 million budget deficit for 2012-13, Stottler said.

The board could vote to allow staff to consider repurposing buildings as administrators work up a staffing plan and budget cuts for next year. District administrators have the professional knowledge to suggest such changes, and Stottler doesn’t want administrators’ hands tied, she said.

“If there’s a budget shortfall of $9 million, and 85 percent of that is salary, the worst thing I could hear is, ‘Well, I can’t cut that many people because I have to staff this school,’” Stottler said.

Options could include moving the district’s alternative schools out of rented space and into district-owned buildings, school board President Kevin Murray said. The board also could consider closing its Educational Services Center, 527 S. Franklin St., and finding office space for administration in other buildings.

The discussion will be a balancing act between saving money by not paying rent and spending money to move services, Murray said.

The discussion was rescheduled from the board’s regular October meeting.

That meeting already had been a long one. The board last month took 13 votes to approve a budget for this school year. The board voted 5-4 for a 2.5 percent increase in the school tax levy. That is one method that will be used to fill a $5.6 million deficit in the 2011-12 budget.

Officials estimated the owners of the average-priced $112,700 home would pay $22.57 more for the school portion of their property taxes.

The levy is $36.77 million, which is $896,933 larger than last year.

The board on Tuesday also could talk about ways to improve budget planning next year, Murray said. Special budget study sessions or uniform budget documents could take stress off board members and taxpayers during planning, he said.

Also on the agenda:

-- Chief Financial Officer Keith Pennington will update the board on capital projects rescheduled from last school year to this year.

The costliest item on the list is resurfacing the track at Monterey Stadium for $115,000, which is scheduled for June. Other items include: $60,000 for HVAC control upgrades at Kennedy Elementary; $50,000 for carpet replacement at Marshall Middle School and another $50,000 for folding wall replacements at Edison Middle School.

-- Pennington also will update the board on the effectiveness of a new sound barrier at Craig High School and an estimate for repairs to the roof at Jackson Elementary.

-- Board member Greg Ardrey also will talk about

the possibility of geothermal or solar applications for the district.

If you go

What: Janesville School Board meeting

When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Where: Educational Services Center, 527 S. Franklin St., Janesville.

On the agenda: The board could talk about plans to repurpose district-owned buildings to save costs in the 2012-13 school year. The board also could talk about how to improve communication during that budget cycle.

Last updated: 6:58 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

Print Print