Brodhead school referendum asks for $2.4 million over three years

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Gina Duwe
Thursday, March 28, 2013

— Brodhead School Board members haven't had serious discussions about what budget cuts to make if an April referendum doesn't pass because they don't think any of the cuts should be made, Superintendent Chuck Deery said.

If the $2.4 million referendum to exceed revenue caps the next three years fails, every elective program will be affected to the point where “kids aren't going to be able to get good programs that they need to be competitive,” he said.

“It's going to have a huge negative impact on what we're going to be able to offer for kids,” he said.

But district officials hope voters are informed about the referendum so they understand what is at stake.

The referendum would provide $800,000 in each of the next three school years.

The district next year faces a projected $833,700 deficit, which grows to more than $1 million in 2014-15 and $1.3 million in 2015-16, Deery said.

The referendum is needed, in part, because the district lost more than $1 million in state aid in the last two years, and enrollment has decreased by 100 students in the last four years, according to the district.

The district loses nearly $10,000 in state revenue for each student lost.

The owner of a $100,000 home would pay a total of $74 more in taxes over the three years of the referendum compared to this year. The district's tax rate this year was $8.81 per thousand dollars of property value, which the district said was the lowest among Green County and area school districts.

If the referendum passes, the tax rate is estimated at $9.07 in 2013-14; $9.13 in 2014-15; and $8.97 in 2015-16.

A significant chunk of debt will be paid off this year, which is why the tax rate wouldn't change drastically with the referendum.

No cuts or timelines have been decided on if the referendum fails, but district information states cuts could include:

-- One instrumental music position and reducing one vocal music position to part time.

-- One art position, one technical education position and one physical education position.

-- High school agriculture program and family/consumer education program (both currently half time).

-- Reduction of the high business education to three-quarters time.

-- One elementary staff position and one administrative position.

-- Reduction of custodial or secretarial positions or hours.

-- Loss of or reductions in some extracurricular activities.

While the referendum seeks $2.4 million, the estimated deficit over the next three years is at least $3.1 million. The difference would be made up likely through minor cuts and possibly more spending out of the district's fund balance, Deery said.

Last updated: 8:16 am Monday, April 29, 2013

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