Should Janesville School District charge school staff to park?
JANESVILLE A new revenue stream was proposed for the Janesville School District on Tuesday night: Charge teachers, aides, principals—everyone—to park at school.
It's too early to know whether a majority of school board members will agree.
School board member David DiStefano, who was elected for the first time in April, suggested the fee.
Figures of $75 and $100 a year for a parking pass were tossed out in the ensuing discussion.
"I think $100 is pretty fair," DiStefano said during a break in the meeting.
DiStefano noted $100 a year is $8.33 a month, and he said the fee could be deducted pre-tax from paychecks, making the dent in workers' wallets even less.
DiStefano noted that some workers in downtown Janesville lease their parking spots, a practice that is more common in bigger cities.
Board member Karl Dommershausen suggested more employees would park on neighborhood streets—as some high school students do now—and that could raise objections from neighbors.
High school students pay $100 a year for parking passes. The fee was doubled from $50 starting in September 2011.
"If there's going to be a fee to park, it should be across the board," DiStefano said.
School board President Bill Sodemann recalled the idea was raised at the board table during the 2005-06 school year, but nothing came of it. One argument at the time was that driving was more of an option for students than for staff.
"A mass rebellion outside our doors was the other reason it was not discussed (further)," Sodemann suggested.
If all 1,300 employees paid $75, that would bring in $97,500. However, that assumes the district has that many parking spots, noted board member Scott Feldt.
Student fees of all kinds, including for athletics, were raised last year. Sports fees went up 185 percent, while other student fees increased 43 percent.
Fees had not been increased for many years, and they had been below the levels of similar districts, according to a memo by district CFO Keith Pennington.
Superintendent Karen Schulte recommended fees not be increased in the coming year.
Raising student fees by 5 percent would bring in about $25,000, according to the memo, and that "relatively small amount" should be weighed "against the amount of negative community reaction to a second consecutive year of increased fees."
The board apparently agreed, as no one made a motion to increase fees.
Fees are part of a larger discussion about this year's budget. The board won't know until Aug. 28 exactly how much it will need to close an anticipated budget deficit.
Pennington presented revenue projections Tuesday, showing an income for the operational budget of $109.2 million, a $400,000 decrease from last year.
That projection assumes the board will tax to the maximum allowed. The maximum tax levy would be limited to $1.5 million less than last year.
What the board doesn't know is expenses, which Pennington plans to introduce Aug. 28.
Sodemann said the board will likely spend the ensuing weeks debating how to use undesignated money in the fund balance.