Monday night at an open meeting in front of about 55 people Riverside-Brookfield High School officials unveiled an estimate of a tax increase they will ask voters to approve in an April referendum. They also outlined almost $2 million in tentative cuts they were prepared to make if the referendum is defeated.

According to a handout, the school board is likely to ask voters for an increase of 44 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation in a referendum in April. If the referendum of that size is approved the owner of a home worth $300,000 would pay about $418 in additional annual property taxes. The owner of a home worth about $200,000 would pay an additional $270 in property taxes.

“That generates about $4.5 million in new money,” said Elizabeth Hennessy of William Blair & Company, RB’s financial advisor.

The District 208 school board will decide in December exactly how much of a tax increase to ask for, since RB officials are still waiting to find out the exact value of all the assessed property in District 208.

Interim Superintendent David Bonnette called the 44-cent figure an estimate at this point.

Those tentative budget cuts, to be made only if the referendum is defeated, call for the elimination of 11.2 certified teaching positions. The cuts include eliminating one counselor position, one librarian, 1.6 positions in the world languages department, 1.2 positions in the math department, 1.2 positions in the social sciences department and 1.5 positions in the wellness department.

Cutting 11.2 certified positions would save $1,164,450 according to a list of tentative cuts distributed at the meeting.

Other cuts proposed if the referendum fails include cutting 6.8 non-certified staff, including cutting two special education aides, 2.2 academic support positions and one computer lab support position.

Boys and girls water polo would be eliminated, and 20 other athletic coaching positions would be eliminated.

Many clubs and other extracurricular activities would be eliminated or cut back. The spring musical would take place once every two years instead of annually for a savings of $20,040. The fall play would be eliminated.

The madrigal singers would be eliminated along with the men’s ensemble, the Auto Club, National Honor Society, the chess team, the math team, the Ecology Club, Science Club, the Fishing Club, the Art Club, the Photo Club and the Forum Club.

The part-time drug and alcohol counselor position would be eliminated, cuts would be made in capital outlay and custodial staff would be reduced.

“It’s not a pretty scenario, but it’s not a scenario that we went to to provoke reaction or be alarmist,” said Tim Scanlon, RB’s assistant principal for curriculum and instruction. “This is not what’s going to happen. This is what could happen if we don’t pass a referendum.”

Scanlon said that many of the clubs picked for possible elimination had academic counterparts, minimizing the impact.

 To see a full list of proposed cuts and more information you can visit the RB Web site.

Chris Perry, the father of an RB student and of two future RB students, said he would hate to see the cuts made and said that he would support the referendum.

“This is what we need to do,” Perry said. “It’s something that has to be done for the community, for the school, for all the students.”

Bonnette suggested that a pay to play system for sports or other activities where students pay a fee in order to participate could reduce some of the possible cuts to certified staff.

The $1.9 million in cuts would leave RB with an average daily fund balance of 20 percent of its operating budget.

If the referendum does not pass in April officials said that the district would try again to pass a referendum in the spring of 2012,

To get to a higher, safer level of a fund balances or if a referendum wasn’t passed in a couple of years more severe cuts would have to made which could include the elimination of the entire athletic program at RB.

RB is projecting a $2.2 million operating deficit this year and has not had an increase in its operating tax rate since 2000.

“You’ve been extremely fortunate to go 10 years without a tax rate increase (for operating expenditures),” Hennessy said. “That’s not the norm.”

RB officials said that they are running a lean operation.

“There is no fat in this budget,” Bonnette said referring to the current budget.

They complained of old textbooks including a seven year textbook in Health and a U.S. Government textbook which ends with the 2000 election.

“We are doing remarkable things on a shoestring,” said RB Principal Pamela Bylsma.