Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Batavia School District: Always Growing

Residents of Batavia are quickly reaching a tipping point. The typical homeowner's tax load has grown at an accelerating rate, and many have expressed frustration and pain over this crushing burden.

Taxing Times

These graphs demonstrate how much the district has required of its community in the previous decade.

This graph represents the amount of Tax Levy money used in the district's Fiscal Year Budget

Beginning with the value of the levy in 2004 (~$35 Million), the level of economic growth and inflation (CPI) indicates that the levy should have only increased to about $44 Million today, yet Batavia finances the district from local property at a level that's over $65 Million. Our community is taxed 47% above the level that would have matched natural economic growth.

Student growth cannot account for the dramatic rise in expense. Indeed, enrollment has been declining and is expected to continue declining for the foreseeable future.

Simultaneously, home values have stagnated, so the tax rate for every home and business has skyrocketed.

This is unsustainable, and the community is in a precarious position: if taxes continue to rise, property values will diminish. As property values drop, the district will need to extract more value from each property, and this negative feedback loop will eventually bankrupt the school district and its residents.

Follow the Money

A natural question to ask is, "Where is all this money going?" Some of it is going toward education in the classroom, paying teachers, and maintaining daily operations. However, non-education expenses have risen faster than the expenses directly related to education.

The spike is due to the 2007 referendum, but non-education expenses continue to grow per student while education related expenses have remained flat.

One area that has clearly grown is administration--it has ballooned in particular since TIF District #2 Expired. The implication of these charts is that it must be approximately 50% harder to administrate than only two years ago.

Community Advocates

Batavia needs a School Board who will work to keep expenses down, operations streamlined, and ensure that every dollar spent is justified.

Vote GRO (Gabriel, Rechenmacher, Olache) to hold the district accountable as we seek a sustainable future.


  1. The caption "The spike is due to the referendum for the BFAC" is misleading and incomplete. The 2007 $75 million capital referendum was for the BFAC, Fieldhouse, 13 classrooms, 3 rehearsal rooms, interior refurbishing, life safety, and parking lot redesign/expansion at BHS, a multipurpose room at RMS and FFE and HVAC refurbishment at the elementary schools. The BFAC and Fieldhouse combined were less than half the total cost.

  2. Dear Steve, thank you for your clarification. You are right and I amended the caption. I also want to thank you for your leadership on the Facilities Commission when the proposal for the referendum was created.