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Letter to the Editor - Planning For Our Future

When revenue caps were introduced in Wisconsin schools in 1993, the future ramifications were not clear. Since that time, it has become apparent that for districts with declining enrollments such as Sturgeon Bay, it is impossible to continue to offer the level of programming that our citizens have come to expect without asking the voters to exceed the revenue caps by way of a referendum.

Since the 2010 referendum, the School District of Sturgeon Bay has continually looked for ways to save money. Examples are as follows:

  • The district changed its health insurance provider and benefit plan for all employees for an estimated $529,000 per year savings.
  • All employees are paying half of their retirement for an estimated $420,000 per year savings.
  • We have sub contracted transportation for an estimated $200,000 per year savings.

These are just a few of the changes our district has done to save money. The district will continue to look for ways to save while still working to provide a high quality education for our children.

During the past referendum, the board of education balanced the needs of the school district and tax payers. The district never taxed to the full amount of the referendum in each year of the referendum. The district took advantage of other savings to help lower the property tax. In the future, if the board of education does not need to tax to their authority, they will not.

The School District of Sturgeon Bay’s referendum has been designed to fund quality education while still looking out for the best interests of our local taxpayers.

  • In the first year of the referendum, we will be able to lower the mill rate by $0.60 per $1,000 of valuation. In other words, a homeowner with property valued at $100,000 will save $60 compared to last year’s tax bill. We are able to do this by asking for $900,000 less than we had this year in the referendum override.
  • In the second year of the referendum, the mill rate will only increase $0.04 or $4 on a home valued at $100,000.
  • In the final year of the referendum, the mill rate will increase $0.54 or $54 on a home valued at $100,000.

In 2012-13 our mill rate was $10.93. If the referendum passes, in 2015-16 the mill rate will be $10.97. The three-year non-recurring referendum will raise the mill rate by $.04 more than the current mill rate. We believe this referendum will allow us to maintain our great educational system.

The upcoming school referendum is as much a quality of life issue for the entire community as it is an educational issue for our kids. The Sturgeon Bay community stands out with its educational commitments. Our home property values and selling points are directly related to our school system. Let’s continue this positive educational trend and show incoming residents that Sturgeon Bay cares about our children’s future. Please vote on April 2, 2013.

Joe Stutting
Superintendent
Sturgeon Bay School District

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