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82-cent hike in Kettle Moraine School District tax bill

Big drop in state aid raises district tax rate

Oct. 31, 2012

Dealt one of the largest reductions in state aid of almost any district in the state, while facing declining enrollment, lower property values and a reduced revenue limit, Kettle Moraine School District residents will see an increase in the tax rate of 82 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for the 2012-13 school year.

State aid is the lowest the district has seen since 1995-96, according to Chief Business Officer Susan Graham.

The district approved general fund expenditures of $45 million for 2012-13, up about 3.4 percent over the 2011-12 budget of $43.5 million. The increase in spending, coupled with a 15-percent decline in state aid shifted more of the burden onto taxpayers. The tax levy for 2012-13 is $33.6 million, up about 4.5 percent over the 2011-12 levy of $32.1 million.

Additionally, a nearly 4-percent reduction in property values coupled with the increase in the tax levy, leaves taxpayers with a tax rate 82 cents higher per $1,000 of assessed value than last year. The 2012-13 tax rate is $10.22 per $1,000, which is 8.7 percent higher than the 2011-12 tax rate of $9.40 per $1,000.

"Operationally, the budget has remained unchanged for the past six years," Graham said. "We're constantly trying to outperform our budget."

The budget was balanced through realigning resources to support the district vision of learning without boundaries, changes to insurance plan designs and bidding out health, dental, life and disability insurance. The final levy figures were only about $3,000 more than what was presented at the annual meeting, Graham added.

According to Graham, the impact on property taxes will depend on the assessed values placed on homes. If the value remains unchanged, a home valued at $350,000 will receive a potential tax increase of $357, while if the same home's value drops by nearly 4-percent the potential tax increase would be $220 per $1,000 of value.

"One would assume that since the equalized value came in reduced, so would some of the property values, but not necessarily at the same rate," Graham explained.

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