Brandon school board trustees approved the 2013-14 divisional budget late Monday night, resulting in a 7.8 per cent increase to the mill rate.
After approving a tentative budget last month that called for a mill rate increase of 8.5 per cent, trustees trimmed it to 8.2 per cent.
That number was further trimmed Monday, when, after hearing from concerned citizens about the size of the increase, the trustees cut the final figure to 7.8 per cent.
“We took another ($328,000) from where we started the day and that was a tough process,” Brandon School Division board chair Mark Sefton said.
“We had a good discussion about a lot of things and I think that every trustee around the table would have liked to see it be less than that because we get that it’s not sustainable.
“But with the rapid enrolment that we have, there was some things we felt we had to put in place.”
One of the biggest cuts was the division will only replace two school buses next year instead of the scheduled three.
For the average homeowner with a property assessed at $200,000, the increase means they will pay an extra $107 in school taxes.
“I know that there is a huge constituency out there that still believe it’s too high, but we did chop away at it a bit,” Sefton said.
“Whenever you get citizens coming out and willing to share their point of view, that’s very important to us.”
Whether this increase curbs future hikes is still yet to be determined, Sefton said.
“I sure hope so,” Sefton said.
“We hope we have some of the things we needed to get into place there now, which gives us a little bit of leeway for next year and the year after that.”
» Brandon Sun
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 13, 2013