In unanimously approving an operating budget of $44,846,305 for the 2019-20 school year, the DeForest Area School Board Monday also certified a $32,908,862 tax levy.

The resulting mill rate is a bit lower than previous estimates, settling at $11.64 per $1,000 of equalized value. That’s down from the $11.69 per $1,000 figure from earlier estimates on Oct. 14.

“The equalization aid was a little higher than anticipated,” said Director of Business & Auxiliary Services Kathleen Davis-Phillips.

School Board President Jan Berg added, “It’s all good news that it was less.”

The district has to certify the levy by Nov. 1.

The average impact on a $100,000 home for 2020 taxes would be $1,164, up from $1,004 in 2019.

Equalization aid for the district ended up at $16,068,331. The final Friday of September head count for the school district was 3,948, with a total staff of 481.70.

Davis-Phillips said the revenue limit was actually a little higher than the amount anticipated earlier this month. She is, however, keeping her eye on a revenue limit authority increase to account for 7.6 full-time equivalent students from the district who are attending an independent charter school. The funding for those students goes through the district’s revenue limit.

Davis-Phillips noted it was unclear which charter school it was, but in her presentation to the board, she opined that it is most likely one run through the University of Wisconsin system. She also said that information on these student counts doesn’t come until October. That makes estimating participation difficult.

The change increases the district’s revenue by $61,183, which is then transferred to the independent charter school.

There were a number of budget draft changes since July, as the 2019-21 State budget was settled, student enrollment growth was factored in and grant allocations to the district were finalized.

The tax levy increase for 2019-20 is estimated at $6,432,868 over the 2018-19 school year, as the mill rate jumped $1.60 per $1,000 of equalized value. Equalized value in the district’s two biggest municipalities has spiked, with the Village of DeForest seeing an increase of 7.58 percent and the Village of Windsor experiencing a rise of 9.74 percent.

Looking at the post-referendum impact to the budget, the operating portion of the referendum with a 7.21 percent rise in equalized value is estimated at $0.88 per $1,000 of equalized value. Davis-Phillips reported that the new $90 million bond sale related to the referendum is expected to have a net impact of $0.67 per $1,000 of equalized value over last year’s debt service tax levy. The borrowings have not been completed, however, and the amount is expected to increase for the 2020-21 school year.

What will have a positive effect on future referendum bond sales, though, is the district retaining its AA+ bond rating from Standard & Poor’s. Davis-Phillips informed the board that DeForest is one of only four school districts in the state to have an AA+ rating.

List price for Morrisonville Elementary

After meeting in closed session, the board voted unanimously to establish a list price of $349,900 for the sale of Morrisonville Elementary.

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