Batavia school board considers levy

Batavia Board of Education members discussed levy options for the November 2011 election at their July 18 board meeting, and will have to make a decision in the coming weeks.

“These are only exploratory options,” Michael Enriquez, board president, said about the levy alternatives presented at the meeting.

The board discussed several mill amounts including 4.9 mills, 5.9 mills and 6.9 mills, which could be either a continuing or five-year levy. They also discussed an earned income tax for residents living in the district.

“Earned income tax does not affect anyone on a fixed income,” Enriquez said about the option. “Only earned income.”

The amounts presented for the earned income tax were .5 percent, which Enriquez said would bring in around $900,000 and .75 percent, which would bring in approximately $1.4 million.

Like many districts, Batavia has been forced to make cuts and look into levy options to balance their budget. Their attempt at passing a 6.9 mill tax levy in the May 2011 election failed with 54.76 percent of voters opposed to the levy.

Enriquez said the district has been looking for the last several years at ways they can save money. They cut 14 positions, both instructional and non-instructional, for the coming year. School fees have been raised, including fees for extra-curricular activities, which will be $125 in 2012.

The district also approved a contract with Williamsburg Local School District to expand shared services. Batavia supervises transportation for Williamsburg and in turn, Williamsburg will be managing Batavia’s food service.

Although the district has taken steps to save money, Enriquez said they could still see a small deficit in 2012. He also said the district suggested putting a levy back on the ballot in November if the levy did not pass in May.

“Most people feel they have been taxed enough,” Enriquez said. “I get that, I understand that.”

However, Enriquez said if the November levy is unsuccessful, the district will have some tough decisions to make.

A special board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 8 at Batavia High School to discuss the levy options.

“Folks are invited if they want to come on the 8th to put in input,” Enriquez said. “We will have to make a decision at that meeting.”