LANSING | The Lansing Elementary District 158 School Board approved an estimated 2012 tax levy this week that represents a 2.9 percent increase over the total 2011 tax levy extension.
The 2011 tax levy was $17,273,071. The proposed 2012 tax levy would result in an increase of $510,129.
Anthony Arens was the only one out of the seven board members to vote no to the estimated 2012 levy.
"We want to put the kids first, but we have a fiscal responsibility to the taxpayer and the constituents of the district," Arens said. "We cannot afford to keep taxing and have people lose their houses."
The board is expected to vote on a final version of the 2012 tax levy at its Nov. 14 meeting. That meeting was moved from Nov. 21.
Business manager Doug Handley said the 2011 levy ended up being a 17.8 percent reduction from the previous year.
Board member Robert Bonifazi said while he was glad to see his taxes go down last year, the district needs funds to operate its programs.
"While we have to be sensitive to the needs of the community, the seven of us are charged with making sure that first and foremost that the education of our children is not compromised," Bonifazi said.
Also at the meeting, Memorial Junior High School Principal Duane Schupp reported a significant increase in the number of students participating in extra-curricular activities at the school.
He said a record 100 students are in band and the more than 50 student council members is double the normal amount.
He also said more than 20 students are on the chess team and 65 students are in the drama program.
Schupp believes the large amount of participation in school activities has contributed to less disciplinary problems at the school this year compared to last year.
"We have not had one physical altercation inside our building this year," Schupp said.
It is projected about 85 percent of Memorial Junior High School students will partake in some sort of extra-curricular activity this school year.
"Research says this is what keeps kids active, busy and feeling good about themselves and their self-esteem," Schupp said.