Taxes for Janesville School District residents will decrease nearly 10 percent for 2017-18.
On Tuesday, the school board unanimously approved a $127.79 million budget.
Although spending will jump nearly $8 million, the amount paid for by local property taxes will decline, as will the amount each homeowner pays.
The budget will result in school-related taxes of $869 for a $100,000 home. Last year, taxes on the same home were $963.
If spending is up, how can the tax levy decrease?
Keith Pennington, chief financial officer for the district, offered two reasons.
First, school district property values have increased by more than $12 million. A larger tax base means expenses are spread out over a larger pool of people.
In addition, about $8 million in spending is for energy-efficiency projects that will be completed in the next year. That additional amount tends to “skew” the budget, Pennington said. The $8 million is not a repeating expense.
Here are a few important numbers in the budget:
Percentage of the district’s budget from the state. About 22 percent of school funding comes from local sources, including property taxes.
Percentage of district spending devoted to salaries and benefits. Pennington noted that this percentage is usually closer to 79 percent. Again, the addition of $8 million for energy-efficiency projects affects the percentages, he said. If the $8 million were removed from the budget, salaries and benefits would be closer to 79 percent.
Reduction in the number of full-time teachers because of enrollment changes and staffing plan alterations. The reduction was achieved primarily through retirements.
Number of additional hours per day for aides at the middle schools.
Amount per student for “general allocation” funding to elementary schools. General allocation money covers such items as workbooks, paper, office supplies, maintenance for instructional equipment and postage.
At the middle school level, the per-student allocation is $107.62. At the high schools, the amount is $119.05.
The amount of fund balance used for the budget. One of the board’s goals was to avoid using the fund balance to help the budget.
Amount set aside for possible wage and fringe benefit increases for teachers. The average wage increase is expected to be 2.52 percent.
Budgeted amount for high school athletics. Most of that amount, about $739,500, is for salaries and benefits. On the revenue side, about $163,000 comes in from interscholastic/extracurricular activities. That comes from all activities, not just sports.