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Fox Point-Bayside Facing $92,000 Budget Shortfall

But district spending, taxes are both down compared to last year.

About half a dozen people showed up at the annual meeting Monday night to put their stamp of approval on a $9.2 million property tax levy that's down 3.9 percent from last year.

The levy will help fund the district's $11.2 million budget for the 2011-12 school year, which is about a 6 percent decrease from last year's $11.91 million budget.

Amy Kohl, director of business services, noted that the budget has a shortfall of more than $92,000, but not trying to immediately close that gap is a choice made by the School Board and administrators to try and avoid further cuts that would affect students.

District Administrator Rachel Boechler echoed Kohl's point, saying that staff is the largest expense for the district. However, reductions to staff was not an option.

"We didn't want to take any more of our staff out," she said. "The primary thing we needed to do to close that budget gap is staff, that's our biggest expense, and we just didn't feel we could do that this year. So, we're going to continue to look for other areas."

The drop in the levy should result in a decrease in the property tax rate from $8.16 to $7.83 per $1,000 of equalized assessed value. For a house with a fair market value of $250,000, that would result in $1,957.50 in school taxes.

"We're doing really good," Kohl said. "We're reducing our spending. We still are very, very close to having a balanced budget."

The state budget approved by the Legislature reduced revenue limits - the amount districts can collect from state aid and property taxes - by 5.5 percent. For Fox Point-Bayside, that was a cut of $700 per student.

The district responded by eliminating 10 teaching positions, a move that was met by extensive resistance during the

Boechler says that now, like many districts, it's a matter of tightening up a little here and there, because there just aren't any big places to find major money anymore.

"We did a 10 percent across-the-board cut in instructional supplies, etc., and it still didn't close the gap," Boechler said. "Utilities go up, maintenance goes up. We're going to take another swipe at it next year because we're going to get hit again."

In October, the School Board will vote on the levy after state aid and enrollment numbers are finalized.

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