Sunday, October 14, 2012

$46,437,308 is Just Right

Like Goldilocks, the school board has determined the tax levy that is just right.  Neither too big, nor too small.
The main purpose of the annual elector's meeting is to vote a tax levy which is sufficient to operate and maintain schools.
Barring any sudden surprises like an unanticipated reduction in stated aid, $46,437,308 is that number.
Who's in charge here...the electors or the board?

... the school board has the ultimate authority to determine the property tax levy for the operation and maintenance of the school district because section 120.12(3) requires the board to determine the amount necessary to operate and maintain the schools. Prior attorney general opinions concluded that earlier versions of section 120.12(3) gave the board the power "to operate and maintain a school regardless of whether the electors provide sufficient funds for such operation and maintenance." 13 Op. Att'y Gen. 380, 381 (1924), and 25 Op. Att'y Gen. 411, 413 (1936).

79 Op. Att'y Gen. 46, 48 (1990)

Therefore, if the school board determines that the tax voted at the annual meeting is not sufficient to operate and maintain the schools, the board is empowered to determine the amount necessary to be raised to operate and maintain the schools in the school district.

See sec. 120.12(3)(a), Stats. Also, if the board finds that the annual meeting voted a tax greater than that needed to operate the schools, the board may lower the tax voted by the annual meeting.
See sec. 120.12(3)(c), Stats.

79 Op. Att'y Gen. 46, 48 (1990)

So...let' stop the shenanigans, eh?  Three years ago the electors voted to reduce the tax levy by $2M and the district STILL ended up with almost $1M SURPLUS.  We're pretty certain that is compelling evidence to support that the proposed tax levy that year was far more than that required to "operate and maintain" schools.  Subsequently, Phil Frei's sock drawers have been emptied.

No programs were cut.
Two enhancements were made during the budget process:
(A) The school board voted to add about $40K to the budget ($73M) to ensure that a full school year's worth of RTI tutoring was provided for struggling students.
(B) The school board also voted to use a one-time $300K to assist the Youth Hockey program in bringing their 2-sheet ice arena to fruition.  Get over it.  This is a good thing.  We will reap much in return for our $300K.

Instead of a tax decrease, this could very well turn into a small tax increase...but that is solely due to the continuing (and unexpected) decline in property values.

So...we're voting "YES" to support a tax levy of  $46,437,308
We hope you will to.
Please...come out in numbers.  But leave your politics at home.  This is not the place, and the school board has ultimate authority over the levy.