Property owners in the Waupaca School District will see their tax levy rise by more than $900,000 in 2015.
The school board unanimously approved a nearly $15.55 million tax levy at its budget hearing on Oct. 28.
That equates to a tax rate of $11.16 per $1,000 of equalized value, about 51 cents higher than last year.
“The district again lost a significant amount of state aid,” District Administrator Dave Poeschl said, explaining the tax increase.
Waupaca will receive just over $8.55 million in state aid in 2014-15, about $357,000 less than the district received in 2013-14.
Carl Hayek, the district’s business manager, noted that the Waupaca School District has seen its level of state funding drop by nearly $3.8 million over the past six years.
In 2008-09, Waupaca received $12.34 million in state aid. At that time, the district’s general fund tax levy was at $9.32 million. In 2014-15, the district’s general fund levy is up to nearly $12.2 million.
Hayek said less state aid means that more of the costs for education are being shifted onto local taxpayers.
While other districts in the state are holding referendums to raise taxes above the state revenue cap, Hayek said the Waupaca School District has kept its budget $2 million below the cap.
Of 422 school districts in Wisconsin, Waupaca is one of 14 that have tax levies $1 million or more below the state’s legal limit.
Declining property values have also impacted the school district’s budget.
In 2009-10, total property in the Waupaca School District was valued at more than $1.48 billion. In 2013-14, total property values had dropped to $1,37 billion.
“Property valuation has a direct correlation to the mill rate,” Hayek said.