Budget goes up, tax levy heads down in De Pere
By Lee Reinsch
DE PERE – Property owners in the De Pere School District will see a lower tax levy.
The School Board approved the 2021-22 budget of $50,640,752, an increase of 1.39% from last year’s $49,962,098, at a special meeting, Monday, Oct. 25.
The budget carries a tax levy of $16,094,056, down $638,460 from $16,732,516 the previous year.
When factoring in an increase in property values, the levy will result in a tax rate of $5.83 per $1,000 of equalized property value, compared to last year’s $6.52.
The district is receiving a $1,378,461 increase in state equalization aid, after legislators in Madison passed this year’s biennial budget.
The increase in state equalized aid causes a direct decrease to the levy, and affects the local taxpayer by reducing the amount of taxes they pay to local districts, District Business Manager Dawn Foeller said.
However, property owners could end up paying more in taxes for school purposes if their property values increase.
Since 2011-12, the equalized value of the district has grown from $1,758,130,098 to $2,761,889,903.
The rate dropped between 6 cents and $1.78 per $1,000 every year for the last decade, except for 2014-15, when it rose by 18 cents.
The 2021-22 levy includes $14,614,586 for the general fund; $1,457,010 for the debt service levy; and $22,460 for the community service levy.
The largest decrease from last year’s levy is the general fund, which decreased from $15,302,611.
The district’s general fund is projected to be composed of $30,934,555 from the state (state revenues), $14,614,586 from local property taxes, $4,862,701 from 578 open enrolled in students, $96,600 from the federal government (federal revenues) and $44,031 in other local revenues.
“This year’s budget is similar to previous budgets with respect to maintaining class sizes and our student-teacher ratio,” Superintendent Ben Villarruel said. “With students back to face to face instruction, the budget looks similar to other budgets in the past.”
Enrollment as of the official headcount date in late September showed an increase of eight K-12 students, to 4,259.
The official count doesn’t include the 228 students in pre-kindergarten or special education preschool, according to material presented by Foeller.
Of the district’s 4,259 students 1,450 are at the high school, 670 at the middle school, 637 at Foxview Intermediate, 587 at Heritage Elementary School, 497 at Dickinson Elementary School and 418 at Altmayer Elementary School.
The board also approved a modification to the district’s quarantine policy affecting students in grades 4K-6.
Students and staff who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and are without symptoms can stay in school and continue with extracurricular activities with continued mask wearing.
This puts the quarantine policy in line with changes approved Oct. 18 for students in grades 7-12.