School taxes to drop
JANESVILLE School property taxes are still going down in Janesville, but not by as much as previously projected.
The reason is that state aid will be lower than estimated.
District Chief Financial Officer Keith Pennington estimates that school taxes on the average house valued at $112,000 would be $18 less than last year. The earlier
estimate was a $34 reduction.
Both estimates were based on equalized values, so actual figures will vary with assessed values in the city or towns the district covers. Those amounts have not been calculated yet.
The state released its final aid figures Monday, and Janesville will receive 2.8 percent more equalization aid this year than in 2011-12.
Janesville will receive $64.37 million in equalization aid, about $1.74 million more than last year but about $600,000 less than projected.
The loss of aid means the tax levy goes up to compensate, because the district’s revenue cap—aid plus local property taxes—remains the same.
The result is that the maximum tax levy increased from previous projections by $593,777, to $36.07 million.
If the board taxes to the maximum—and no board member has suggested otherwise—then the school tax levy will still be 1.89 percent lower than last year, according to
a memo from district Pennington to the superintendent.
Taxing less than the maximum would cause trouble with balancing the district budget, because the state will give the district an extra $500,350 if the board levies the entire amount.
The reason Janesville’s equalization aid was reduced from the state’s previous estimate was that the July 1 estimate was based on 2011-12 budgeted figures, while the final aid amount was based on actual spending last year. The amount of spending is one factor in determining aid.
The district spent less than it budgeted, so aid was reduced, Pennington said.
The school board is expected to make its final decision on the levy and the budget when it meets next Tuesday night. The board is likely to cover a projected $3.6 million shortfall by drawing down its reserves.