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Residents to Vote Tonight on Elmbrook Tax Levy Cut

The Elmbrook Schools portion of residents' property tax bills likely will decrease, due to the state's 5.5 percent cut in school revenue caps.

Elmbrook School District residents likely will see a decrease in the school portion of their property tax bills this December, thanks to the state's 5.5 percent cut in school districts' maximum allowable revenue.

But the exact amount of the tax cut will depend on each resident's home value and other local assessment factors.

One Elmbrook estimate says the owner of a $300,000 home will pay $282 less — or $2,925 instead of $3,027 for school taxes. But that is based on equalized home values, while residents pay based on assessed values.

At the district's annual meeting tonight, residents will vote on the proposed nearly $72 million property tax levy for the 2011-12 school year. That is down 7.6 percent from the previous year's levy of nearly $78 million.

General fund spending would be about $79.1 million, down 7.4 percent from about $85.4 million in 2010-11.

A detailed budget presentation starts at 6 p.m., followed by the annual meeting at 7 p.m., all in the School Board meeting room at the district's administrative offices, 13780 Hope St.

The lowered school revenue caps mean Elmbrook can collect $647 less per pupil after years of having state permission to collect about $200 more per pupil annually.

Elmbrook was able to absorb that $6 million tax cut without major hits to its curriculum and programs largely due to its saving of more than $4 million in employee benefit costs.

Those savings occurred from teachers and other employees paying 5.8 percent toward their pensions and 12.6 percent toward their health insurance premiums. . Younger teachers were hired at lower salaries, and the district did not replace 24 teachers, according to information reviewed by the School Board's Finance and Operations Committee.

STAFF CHANGES (full-time equivalents)
2010-'11 2011-'12 Change Teachers 538 514 -24 Assistants 141 149 8 Secretaries 50 51 1 Custodians 52 49 -3 Food service 11 11 0 Nurses 3 3 0

Tonight's vote is advisory only. The School Board will adopt a final 2011-12 budget in October after making any adjustments due to final enrollment, state aid and other information.

The board adopted a preliminary budget in June. But the district since learned it would receive another $410,000 in revenue — $300,000 in state aid and $110,000 in revenue authority.

The extra funds were used, in part, to hire another teacher at to avoid creating a combined fourth- and fifth-grade class, and add three teachers at the middle school level to relieve class sizes.

A breakdown of district revenues is listed in the chart below, with open enrollment and state aid up, while property taxes and Chapter 220 integration aid are down.

GENERAL FUND REVENUES


2010-'11 2011-'12 Change Property taxes $71,699,453 $65,661,153 -8.4% Open enrollment $3,649,452 $3,947,600 8.2% Chapter 220 aid $3,412,665 $3,049,103 -10.7% Other state aid $3,878,174 $4,258,127 9.8% Federal aid $490,947 $484,913 -1.2% Other $2,066,592 $1,952,808 -5.5% TOTAL $85,197,283 $79,353,704

-6.9%

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