Mason School District NET costs to taxpayers, 2009-2013

There has been much interest and some confusion surrounding the School budget. I was looking for a direct and simple answer to my question of "how much do we pay for our School system and how is that changing from year to year". I have prepared the tables below to show figures for the past 4 years using actual dollar amounts as charged to Mason's taxpayers ("NET cost to taxpayers").
Tax rates are much less useful for comparisons because they mingle together changes in taxes raised with changes in property valuation. For example in a town-wide revaluation if the valuations doubled the tax rate would be cut in half, and the actual tax dollars raised would remain unchanged.

Mason School District Budgets & Tax Burden, 2009 to 2013
2,537,731 2,431,080 2,519,112 2,546,083     Operating Budget (less Debt Service)
5,387 442,213 435,414 435,290   + Debt Service
2,543,118 2,873,293 2,954,526 2,981,373  = TOTAL Budget
468,089 462,502 468,224 465,219  - Offsets & revenues
2,075,029 2,410,791 2,486,302 2,516,154 = NET costs to taxpayers
# students:
26 26 20 20   Students, pre-k and K
81 89 86 76   Students Grades 1-5
85 81 90 99   Students Grades 6-12
192 196 196 195 TOTAL Students Grades Pre-K through 12

Numbers provided by Michael O'Neil, Mason School District Business Manager
Figures for 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 are Actual expenses & revenues
Figures for 2011-2012 are Budgeted because the school year is still underway
Figures for 2012-2013 are Proposed Costs and Estimated Revenues as of January 20, 2012
The big jump in 2010-2011 NET is due to start of bond payments for MES expansion & refurb

Year to Year CHANGES in NET and Operating budgets (as $ and as %):
NET $ NET % Operat. $ Operat. % Between Years:
335,762 16.2 -106,651 -4.2 from 2009-10 to 2010-11
75,511 3.1 88,032 3.6 from 2010-11 to 2011-12
29,852 1.2 26,971 1.1 from 2011-12 to 2012-13

NET is the useful "bottom line" value. Operating Budget is calculated as ALL expenditures except Debt Service, without taking into account any offsets or revenues, so it is higher than actual operating expenses as we would normally think of them. For example, increasing the revenues from our food service would not decrease the "Operating Budget" as defined here, though it would decrease the NET cost to taxpayers.
Also note that "Offsets & Revenues" includes all income into the District, including payments for meals, grants, and subsidies such as the State's share of our principal repayments; a mixture that blurs the line between Operating and Debt Service categories.
In short, only use the Operating Budget figures with a clear understanding of their limitations...