The annual meeting of the New Berlin schools was a tug-of-war between those who objected to the proposed 3.78 percent levy increase and those who wanted better care of the school buildings.
Ultimately, residents Monday approved the nearly $49.3 million levy for the 2014-15 school year on a vote of 28 to 16.
More than 40 residents attended the annual meeting held in the New Berlin West Middle/High School auditorium.
Those opposing the levy said the school's debt is too high and that they suspect the School Board of angling for a referendum to perform up to $22 million in school maintenance and upgrades.
Those speaking for the levy said they didn't want to see the schools strangled for lack of funding and said a laser focus on tax dollars is short-sighted. Schools in good condition that are competitive with schools in other communities are needed to keep up property values, some said.
The School Board will certify the final levy when state aid and enrollment numbers are known later this fall.
Total spending will be $61.9 million, not counting capital projects. The total is up 2.2 percent from last year. The general fund, regarded as the operating budget, will rise 1.9 percent.
The district compares spending without capital projects for a more meaningful comparison. But with capital projects, next year's total spending will be $69 million which is down nearly 3 percent from last year.
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