The Milton School Board approved a 2018-19 budget Monday night that will allow the district to tax residents at a lower rate and spend more than it did last year.
The board approved the budget unanimously. No members of the public commented.
The 2018-19 budget totals $42.85 million, a 6.05 percent increase from last year, according to data provided by the school district.
Property taxes will pay for less of the district’s budget this year with a tax levy of $14.66 million, a 0.74 percent decrease from last year’s levy.
The tax levy translates to a tax rate of $7.81 per $1,000 of equalized valuation, down 60 cents from last year’s $8.41 tax rate.
The district has one of the lowest tax rates for school districts in Rock County, director of administrative operations Jerry Schuetz said.
Data from the state Department of Instruction show Milton had the lowest tax rate of school districts in Rock County in 2017-18.
The Parkview School District in Orfordville was the highest in the county last year at $12.23 per $1,000 of equalized value. The Janesville School District was the second lowest at $8.69.
An increase in state aid and shrinking debt service payments allowed the district to increase services without increasing the tax burden, Schuetz said.
The district received $21.14 million in general state aid, down 0.57 percent from $21.26 million last year, but that represents an increase in per-pupil aid. In its enrollment count on the third Friday of September, the district reported having 27 more students for 2018-19 over the previous year.
The state Department of Justice also granted the district two school safety grants totaling $332,786, which made room in the district’s budget for other projects, Schuetz said.
The district’s property values increased 6.76 percent over 2017-18’s values, according to a district memo.
The district will be debt-free in March 2019, Schuetz said, about a month before the district anticipates asking voters to approve a potential capital referendum.
The 2018-19 budget includes increases in services that allow for further investment in students’ educations, Schuetz said.
Service additions include:
The district cut one full-time interpreter because the position was no longer needed, Schuetz said.
Board President Tom Westrick said it is “pretty incredible” that the district was able to add services without raising the tax rate.
Marilyn E. Allison
Betty J. Cook
Edward Wallace Crook Jr.
Mary “Carrie” Dodge
Sean A. Dutcher
Evelyn L. Falk
William A. Haines
Linda Lou Hoof
Edward C. Leahy
Robert L. Mayfield
Anthony D. Pavlatos
Thomas William Schneider
Mary Agnes Turner
Rollin “Rollie” Wescott
Phyllis M. Williams
Susan Jo Wilson
The teen who jumped out a second-story window at the Rock County Sheriff’s Office last week was held on a $15,000 cash bond Monday as sheriff’s officials worked to increase security in their offices.
Quantrell D. Schwartzlow, 17, of 312 Mowe St., Orfordville, is charged with escape in the incident Thursday.
Schwartzlow was handcuffed in front but was able to open the window and dive out head-first, Sheriff Robert Spoden said Monday.
“It looked like he was someone who was diving into a pool. He is very fortunate he didn’t hurt himself by breaking his neck or something like that,” said Spoden, who watched surveillance video of the event.
Spoden said the video doesn’t show Schwartzlow hitting the ground, but it does show him running to the west and then south on Highway 51 toward Janesville at about 12:20 p.m.
He was captured more than three hours later at a friend’s house in Janesville, as reported earlier.
Spoden said the incident is being investigated, but the first order of business is to find out why security screens were not installed on windows in the wing where Schwartzlow was being interviewed by a detective and to get screens installed.
The wing had previously been strictly administrative, Spoden said.
Spoden said the interview rooms have anchors on the floor, where suspects could be secured with leg shackles, and officers decide whether a suspect was cooperative enough that handcuffs were sufficient.
Whether the detective violated any policies has yet to be determined, and that’s also under investigation, Spoden said.
In court Monday, public defender Michelle Brandenmuehl argued Schwartzlow should be released on a signature bond or low cash bond, saying he is a lifelong resident of the area, has a job, this is his first adult criminal case, and his parents, who were in court, would help make sure he appears for future court proceedings.
Deputy District Attorney Perry Folts said he didn’t know any better argument for a cash bond than someone diving out a window to escape.
Schwartzlow had left the interview room but then “manipulated” his way back into the room and called someone for a ride after escaping, Folts said.
Schwartzlow was arrested on charges including sexual assault on Thursday, Spoden said earlier.
The criminal complaint indicates the arrest occurred at 11:07 a.m. Thursday at Orfordville Parkview High School while deputies executed a search warrant at his residence.
Folts said the sexual assault case was still under investigation, and no charges had been issued, yet.
In interview room No. 1 in the sheriff’s office detective bureau, Schwartzlow said he was innocent, didn’t want to go to jail, “and he would do whatever it takes, and he was supposed to go to Texas the following day,” the complaint states.
Schwartzlow then was read his Miranda rights, declined to say more without an attorney, and the detective left the room, according to the complaint.
Alone in the room, Schwartzlow opened the blinds and the window and stared out for about 12 minutes, video evidence shows, according to the complaint.
The detective returned to the room, handcuffed Schwartzlow and escorted him to the adjoining jail as Schwartzlow protested that he hadn’t been given a chance to tell his side of the story, according to the complaint.
The detective told him he couldn’t listen to him without an attorney present, and Schwartzlow agreed to give up his right to an attorney, according to the complaint.
The detective took Schwartzlow back to the interview room, where he left him alone and handcuffed for about 13 minutes, according to the complaint. When he returned, he discovered Schwartzlow had jumped.
Video indicates Schwartzlow jumped about 10 seconds after the detective left the room, the complaint states.
Folts said Schwartzlow has a juvenile record, including a charge of driving a vehicle without owner consent last year. He missed a court appearance in October 2017 in that case, Folts said.
Phone calls made from the jail indicate Schwartzlow still wanted to leave the state, said Folts, who asked for a $20,000 bond.
Court Commissioner Larry Barton set the $15,000 cash bond and scheduled Schwartzlow’s next court appearance for Friday.