Nisky adopts $75M school budget in 5-2 vote

More than 3 percent tax levy increase within cap, around 80 positions cut

— “The only thing you know for sure is that it wasn’t just right,” he said.

Several board members who voted “yes” said the adopted budget doesn’t diminish programming and having to craft a contingency budget would be too great of a burden.

Board President Jeanne Sosnow said it is important to remain under the tax cap due to the tough times taxpayers are going through.

“It represents changes in the ways we do things, but I don’t think that is harming instruction children are getting,” Sosnow said. “It maintains a lot of our programs. It may look a little different.”

She added if the board thought it needed to go over the tax levy limit in following years the community might be more supportive if the board remains under the tax cap limit this year.

The district can present another budget proposal to voters if it fails the May vote, but if it fails the second time the board would have adopt a budget holding no tax levy increase under new contingent budget rules. A contingency budget would require an additional $1.6 million in spending reductions, which would bring the total reductions to around $5.9 million.

Three of the last four school budgets have passed by more than 60 percent, including the 2011-12 budget at a 3.95 percent tax levy increase, 2010-11 at a 1.9 percent tax levy increase and 2009-10 at a 2.45 percent tax levy increase. The 2008-09 budget called for a 3.48 percent tax levy increase and was approved by 57 percent of voters.

Assistant Superintendent for Business Matthew Bourgeois noted the budget-to-budget increase in spending has “steadily” declined during the same time period, with the 2008-09 budget holding a 10.85 percent increase in spending and the 2011-12 budget increasing spending by 0.97 percent.

“We have been trying to do the right things in terms of containing costs and maintaining a relatively affordable tax levy increase to the best we can given the constraints we are working within,” Bourgeois said.

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