Your Questions-Submitted online, answered below
Question: Why did the tax rate go down 50 cents this year if the need for improvements was known? Couldn't we have addressed some of the needs with that money?
The short answer is no, the district did not have the authority to levy the extra 50 cents to be used for improvements. The district's authority to levy taxes is highly regulated and there are very specific calculations to determine the district's levy. There is a formula that every school district must follow that calculates the total amount of money we are allowed to raise via state aid and taxes, our "total revenue limit". The district is not allowed to exceed that amount without voter approval (for example, the question asking to exceed the revenue limit for technology). In 16-17, the calculation of our "total revenue limit" resulted in a decrease from the prior year which means the district was allowed to raise less money via state aid and taxes. This led to the decrease in the tax rate.
It should be noted that the money we are allowed to collect is used for operations which includes maintenance and improvements. Each year, within the scope of our budget, we accomplish many projects. Some recent examples include the tuckpointing and sealing of each building and the roof/wall repair at the elementary. This summer, the district is replacing the wood floor in the middle school gymnasium. All of the projects mentioned were paid for using our general operations budget. However, there are some projects that the size and scope is so large that it is not possible to accomplish within the constraints of our operating budget.