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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 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 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.

Sarah Millard August 09, 2012 at 05:27 PM
That's true, but it's also important to note that the total amount of taxes collected as a whole is going down. Two pieces to the puzzle here.
Randy1949 August 09, 2012 at 09:13 PM
So what's this about tax rates being frozen, so that the decrease in state aid can't make property taxes go up? It turns out not to be true after all? My assessment dropped by about 20% two years ago, and my taxes went up. So now that property values are recovering I can expect a further increase? Can I say 'I told you so' now?
Bernard Forand August 20, 2012 at 06:43 PM
@ Sarah Millard 12:27 pm on Thursday, August 9, 2012 That's true, but it's also important to note that the total amount of taxes collected as a whole is going down. Two pieces to the puzzle here. Interesting. Mill goes up tax revenue goes down? Hmmm 2 factors come to mind. 1) property evaluation down. 2 )less property owners. So we will go with #1) property evaluation goes up, {Mill} more taxes collected. Property rise in value, more taxes collected. Curious by controlling evaluation, taxes are controlled with out representation from the voter? Now for 2) abandon homes or foreclosed goes to bank. Are Bank properties under foreclosed or abandon evaluated as distressed? Lower evaluation lowers tax collected. This to be passed on to surrounding properties? Then when they are sold, increase in evaluation rate for them. Does that reduce the evaluations rates to surrounding properties? In essence a tax raise for a budget that is better than balanced. Budget to be increased? No budget increase then; Surplus revenue goes where? Perhaps to shore up exterior budgets that are not educational institutes? Education under those circumstances is being charged a debt for external budgets that did not get their taxes raised. Then when tax are raised on the exernal budgets, will that surplus [Taht was paid out} be paid back to the schools, with interest.. Increase budget could also be another way around of raising taxes. “BUT” that’s another story yet to materialize.
Sarah Millard August 20, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Bernard, your comment is hard to follow. But it should be noted that the budget decreased - not increased like the implications at the end of your comment.
Jenna March 11, 2013 at 09:29 PM
Called deceptive messaging. Scott Walker is expert at it. Stop taking him at his word and do due diligence. Then, you would understand that it isn't only the teachers who have to pay for Walker reforms. This is what we get when we elect people to posts that are above their capability - the Peter Principle. During austerity, everyone pays except the protected few. Guess who they are?? I'll give you a hint...one is Scott Walker himself. He gets entitlements all day long like premier health care, a sizable pension, local and international trips on taxpayers, free criminal Defense and PR firm representation paid for by donors and taxpayers, and per diems that taxpayers pay for at a minimum of $88 dollars a day when he travels from Wauwatosa to Madison. Can you guess others who get a pass on Walker's austerity adjenda? Hint: NOT Waukesha County taxpayers...

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