The following was submitted by Board of Ed member Chesky Seitler: There have been many conflicting reports about the exact amount of this year’s reduction in the BOE bduget. I would like to just clarify the numbers and information in a clear and concise manner.
Last year the BOE took 1.16 for every hundred dollar of assessed value. This year the BOE is taking 1.115 for every hundred dollars of value. That is a reduction of 3.9% or about 180.00 dollars for an average home assessed at 400k.
Now, here is the exact calculation. There are 2 parts to the BOE tax levy. There is the General Fund and there is the Debt Service fund. In this year’s budget there is a decrease to both of these areas.Last year the General tax levy was 71,593,625.and 73,632,349 including debt service. This year the General tax levy is 70,346,004. A reduction of 1,247,621 or 1.77%. Furthermore, the debt service was reduced from 2,038,724 to 867,074. A savings of 1,171,650. The total savings this year is 2,419,271. The total tax levy this year with the debt service is 71,231,078. This is a total savings of 3.40%. There is also roughly an additional 50 million dollars in ratable this year. This brings the total per hundred dollars of assessed value down to 1.115 or 3.9% from last year. The total savings is about 45 dollars for every 100k of assessed value.
The cuts were made in numerous areas. There was a 300k reduction in the maintenance contract with our vendor. There was 750k taken out of supplies, textbooks, and other misc areas. 335k was taken out of salaries since we are not projecting to give a raise to the teachers. However, there were other areas that required increases such as a new roof for the Middle school, 2 million dollars for bussing the projected 3,000 additional children next year, bli ayin horah. A projected increase of 12% for health benefits which totaled 1.2 million dollars and other areas that fell short this year. To help cover these increases there were other cuts that were made so that taxes would not have to be increased to cover the shortfall. Some of these additional reductions were as follows; adding the possibility of making the bus routes into one hour which reduced 700k. Removing 750k from one special ed line because the State has kicked in almost 900k for that line leaving an enormous surplus this year. Removing an additional 335k from the raises for teachers and using it to offset the rise in insurance costs. Additionaly, the roofing estimate was brought down by half thereby eliminating the need in the budget for 375k. There is still a one million increase for bussing which was covered by an additional 1 million in state aid and some minor increases and decreases in other areas as well.
In the end the decreases equaled about 3.2 million, however between the roof, insurance, special education and busing, almost 2 million of the reductions were reallocated back into the budget. The most important thing to remember about the budget is simple. A budget is just a guide. It is not a binding policy. If there is more money in one area it can be transfered to another area that fell short. The entire idea of a budget is to project how much total money is needed to run the District in the coming year. If one line item is short it can be replenished with a different item that has an excess. Therefore, the only thing that counts is the bottom line. The net reductions this year are almost 2.5 million off the tax levy. No services have been removed or proposed to be removed. No children will suffer or not receive the services they deserve. Should there be a shortage in a certain area it can be replenished from a different area. For the first time in history, the Administration and the Board worked together to help both the children and the taxpayers. Something that was “impossible” just 12 months ago, has become reality.
I hope this make things clearer and not more confusing.