School district poised to adopt 2019-20 budget

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BELOIT - The School District of Beloit is poised to adopt a $121,958,912 overall expenditure budget for 2019-2020 following a public hearing tonight. The figure is down from last year's figure of $124,132,860.

The public hearing on the budget is set for 5:15 p.m. in the boardroom of the Roosevelt Building, 1633 Keeler Ave.

Under the proposed budget, a taxpayer with a home valued at $100,000 would see a $143 tax decrease in the district's portion of the tax bill. The proposed tax rate of $10.30 per $1,000 valuation is down from last year's $11.73 per $1,000 valuation, according to a presentation found in the board packet by JoAnn Armstrong, executive director of business, human resources and operations.

Under the proposed budget a taxpayer with home valued at $100,000 would pay $1,030 in property taxes for school purposes per year, less than the previous years $1,173.

The school property tax levy for 2019-2020 is $16,533,494, down from $17,125,036 for 2018-2019.

The total general fund revenue and other financing sources, $86,384,302 is down from $91,612,139 the previous year. In earlier interviews Armstrong explained the revenue is down because the district can no longer tax for and use the revenue limit energy exemption for construction projects. The state exemption accommodated spending deemed to improve energy efficiency projects, and approved projects were reimbursed approximately 80% the following year through state equalization aid. However, the 2018-2019 school year was the last year the projects were allowable outside of the state revenue limit. Last year the district used the exemption to spend $5.8 million for construction projects at Todd, Hackett and Merrill schools.

Debt service rose from $5,869,135 in 2018-2019 to $13,703,477 in 2019-2020. Armstrong said the district is setting aside funds into an escrow account to pre-pay bonds. The district will levy additional dollars to put into escrow to pre-pay existing bond payments thus reducing interest payments. With the proposed defeasance the district can save more than $2 million in interest costs. Incorporating the defeasance into the budget and levy did not increase the tax liability above last year's amount.

The budget also includes $350,000 on Community Service Fund 80 activities which will be used to pay for after-school programming. Unlike other operational costs, reimbursed to the school district by the state at 75%, none of the amount the district spends on Fund 80 activities will be reimbursed by the state.

At a 5 p.m. special meeting tonight prior to the budget adoption, the board will also discuss a potential pay increase for paraeducators.

Detailed copies of the budget are available in the district's office at 1500 Fourth Street. For more information people can contact Armstrong at 608-361-4011 or at jarmstrong@sdb.k12.wi.us.

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