Voters at Monday’s annual meeting gave their approval to a tax levy increase of an estimated $6.4 million for a nearly $33 million 2019-20 DeForest Area School District budget.

About 25 people attended the meeting, held at the DeForest Area Library.

The mill rate is expected to be $12.13 per $1,000 of equalized value, an increase of $2.09 per $1,000 of equalized value over the 2018-19 fiscal year.

Director of Business and Auxiliary Services Kathleen Davis said the $12.13 per thousand of equalized value figure is less than originally estimated. She also said that figure is trending downward by 11 cents as the district works toward finalizing its budget numbers.

They won’t be completely finished until the fall.

“We will know more in October,” said Director of Business and Auxiliary Services Kathleen Davis.

One of the major factors is that equalized value is anticipated to go up due to growth and a reassessment in the Village of DeForest, which could result in a tax shift depending on the growth of the other school district municipalities. If DeForest’s values outpace those of the Village of Windsor, the Village of DeForest could take on more of the tax levy.

The current budget assumes a 3 percent increase, although it is expected to be higher.

Also, the mill rate is anticipated to change when the new State Biennium Budget is completed and the district receives final equalized value and state aid numbers.

The third Friday in September enrollment count will also impact the budget, as will the final allocation of grants. Fall is also when the district certifies its levy and receives equalized aid certification. Final staffing hires and changes are also on the horizon.

Davis calculated the average property taxes resulting from the budget for three different levels of homes in the district. For a $150,000 home, property taxes are expected to be $1,820, while on a $250,000 home, they are anticipated to go to $3,033. For a $350,000 home, the number is expected to be $4,246. However, the actual school property tax rates will differ by municipality.

The district has received good news regarding revenue. The revenue limit increase per full-time equivalent (FTE) student is going up by $175, while the district will also see a per pupil categorical aid increase of $112. District officials are allowing for an estimated increase in FTE pupils of 85.

Also, the district will receive $2.5 million in funds for recurring operating expenses that were included in the April referendum.

Employee salary and benefits are expected to rise by 3.5 percent, as the district is adding nine new FTE staff members due to growth. An additional 10 new FTE staff are being hired as a result of the recent referendum, with $2 million going to non-referendum capital projects.

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