School Tax Rate Increasing Despite Budget Reductions, Lower Tax Levy
Nearly $10 million cut from Waukesha School District budget form collective bargaining law changes.
Residents in the Waukesha School District can expect an increase in the school district tax rate while taxes are decreasing overall, according to a preliminary draft of the 2012-13 school district budget.
In the preliminary budget, the tax levy for the district is estimated to be $83 million, a decrease of $891,000 from last year’s levy. Assuming a 2 percent decrease in equalized property value throughout the district, the resulting tax rate would be $9.33 per $1,000 of property value. Last year's tax rate was $9.24 per $1,000 of property value.
A home valued at $200,000 would pay $1,866 for the school district portion of the tax bill, an $18 increase over last year.
The $157 million school district budget includes decreases in revenue from state and federal sources – $670,000 less in general, categorical and other types of state aid and $4 million less in federal grants and aid, according to budget documents.
With this proposed budget, the district reduced costs by $9.6 million, much of which was made through changes in employee benefits as allowed under Act 10, according to Finance Committee Chair Joseph Como.
“To balance the budget, we had to reduce costs by $9.6 million. Primarily the way we made that up was by looking at what Act 10 had to offer,” Como said.
This past year, teachers and non-union employees began paying 5.9 percent toward their pensions and AFSCME union members began paying 4 percent toward their pensions, despite not being required to do so, Como said.
Additionally, re-bidding benefit plans and making changes in benefits helped save money, too, with employees contributing more toward their health coverage premiums, which averages about 12 percent.
“It’s important to point out that employees have sacrificed to help balance the budget,” Como said.
The budget is scheduled to be reviewed and approved at the next finance committee meeting September 10 and the school board meeting September 12.
Following approval, a public hearing on the budget will be held later in September.
In October, after the school district concludes its third Friday of September enrollment count and once equalized property valuations are determined, the tax levy will be finalized.