Paris School Board passes levy lower than annual meeting proposal, but higher than approved by community motion

The Paris School Board approved a 2010-11 tax levy lower than it proposed at Monday’s district annual meeting, but more than was asked for by a motion passed by residents that night as well.

The levy will be $288,094 over the state set revenue limit for the district, but below what the board could levy ($495,000 over the limit) because of a referendum passed last year.

At Monday’s annual meeting, a vote of electors rejected the full referendum approved levy. A motion to levy just the amount needed to fund operations passed the electors Monday.

Thursday, school officials said they were sensitive to the sentiment expressed at the annual meeting that the district should seek to tax less if it can.

“It’s clear that taking the full referendum is not the way the community wants us to go,” said board member Deanna Krumm. “When times are tough, we (the community and the board) work together.”

“After listening to people the other night, no …” said board member Glen Bennett regarding levying the full referendum amount. “I don’t want to pay that much either.”

The vote took place after extensive discussion and was not unanimous.

Board member Lisa Ashmus voted against the levy and said she felt not levying to the maximum allowed by the referendum was a missed chance to further tackle the school’s financial difficulties.

“This is giving up a huge opportunity,” said Ashmus, who contended people approved the higher amount via the referendum and understood that was the amount to be levied.

The total tax levy for 2010-11 will be $2,114,245. That should result in a mil rate the same as last year. Total assessed value for Paris has decreased about 3.48 percent over the last year, district administrator Roger Gahart said.

The 2009-10 tax levy was $2,190,555.

Board members designated the approximately $120,000 levied above what was needed for operations to be directed to paying part of the school’s Wisconsin Retirement System debt, toward a fund to pay for post-retirement benefits (Fund 73) and to increase the district’s fund balance savings. The exact amounts to go toward each use will be decided at a future meeting.


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