Superintendent Ted Neitzke presented his proposed 2012-13 budget to the Board tonight and was granted unanimous approval to increase the tax levy 6.6%. While proposed spending will be down by 5.1%, thanks in full to Governor Scott Walker's Act 10, the West Bend School District is planning on taxing to the full amount allowed by law. The budget is speculation, based on their idea of state funding. Firmer numbers will be available in the near future.
Neitzke admitted they have not yet looked at sick days for teachers but are waiting to look at that component next year in coordination with other local school districts.
The only good news is that the district will plan to set aside $250,000-$275,000 for Fund 41, which will begin to save for the 25 Year Strategic Building Plan. This plan includes additions to Silverbrook School and Greentree Elementary School, restructuring of grades and redistricting of school lines.
Mr. Neitzke, in speaking to funding the future building plans, spoke of Act 32, which would allow "7 people to make a decision" about levying beyond the capacity. In other words, the Board would not need to ask the community for a referendum on extra funding for building; they can decide themselves. Mr. Neitzke's staff is seeking clarification on how Act 32 can be used. He seemed genuinely excited about it's prospect for funding.
After tonight, when the Board unanimously passed a preliminary budget that might end up being a 6.6% tax levy increase, and is for certain a "tax to the max", I will have difficulty trusting the Board with the authority Act 32 grants them.
Again, stay tuned...