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De Pere school tax rate projected to decrease

By Lee Reinsch

DE PERE – Thanks to temporary extra funding to the De Pere school district from the state and federal governments, property owners could see their property taxes go down this year.

The De Pere school district’s tax rate could decrease from the $6.52 per $1,000 of home value approved last fall to $6.08, Dawn Foeller, director of business services said.

That means the owner of a home assessed at $100,000 would pay $608 instead of $652.

The school district’s preliminary tax levy is projected at $15.9 million, compared to $16.7 million in 2020-21 and $19.9 million in 2019-20.

It’s down $808,000 from last year, because of an increase in equalized aid from the state.

Foeller presented an outlook to board members and the community at the district’s budget hearing and board meeting last month.

The district will finalize the mill rate this fall.

The district expects its general expenditures for the 2021-22 school year to be about $50.1 million.

It’s larger than last year’s number by about 0.36%, or $175,000.

The district anticipates 1.35 fewer full-time equivalent staff members than last year, but health insurance rates are rising 1.8%.

There’s no increase in the revenue cap this year, whereas last year’s increase was $179 per student.

Equalized value in the district is projected to be up 2% over last year, to about $2.6 billion, Foeller said.

She said the Wisconsin Department of Revenue will release the final equalized value and general equalization aid by Oct. 15.

Generally, when property values go up, Foeller said the amount in equalization funds to school districts goes down.

She said the district will get about $27 million in general aid this year, which is $1.2 million more than it did last year.

“This money did not really change our budget, it increased the amount I had budgeted for the general aids and decreased the tax levy by the same amount, and reduced our mill rate,” Foeller said.

The student population – at last count around 4,274, which is eight more students than last year – will be finalized on the third Friday in September.

Gov. Tony Evers pledged $100 million of COVID-19 aid to Wisconsin schools over two years, which equals about $60 per student.

“My understanding is the governor has pledged this money since the new biennium budget did not include any increase in per-pupil funding, low-revenue districts or any increase to (the) state-imposed revenue limit, basically freezing our revenue per student we receive,” Foeller said in an email.

She said the De Pere school district’s share will be about $259,000.

“It’s a temporary fix from the governor for (the Republican-led legislature’s) not increasing our levy limit, per-pupil amount or other sources for the 2021-23 school years the school district uses to pay for its expenses,” Foeller said. “We will not have that money available to us after the 2022-23 budget.”

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