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Platteville school budget smaller, but taxes projected higher
Pay raises for teachers, staff, administrators OKd
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The 2015–16 budget Platteville Public Schools residents will vote on at the school district’s Aug. 24 annual meeting spends less than money than one year ago, but has a higher projected property tax rate.

The budget also includes pay raises for PPS teachers, non-contracted support staff, administrators and administrative support staff. 

The 2015–16 budget of almost $16.398 million is 1.13 percent less than the amended 2014–15 budget.

The property tax levy of $7.66 million is 4.41 percent more than last year’s property tax levy, leading to a projected mil rate of $11.15 per $1,000 assessed valuation, up from $10.73 per $1,000 one year ago.

The owner of a $150,000 house will pay $1,725 in school property taxes, up from $1,609.50 one year ago, based on, in the words of business manager Art Beaulieu, “property values not changing much” when the state releases property valuations in October.

See BUDGET page 5A υ

The spending cut and tax increase has to do with the school district’s receiving less state aid, the result of the 2015–17 state budget and the school district’s 8 percent increase in property value.

“Districts that are property-rich get less state aid,” said PPS superintendent Connie Valenza. “So as the value of the property in the community goes up, the money the state gives us to offset our taxes goes down.”

Equalized aid dropped 3.8 percent, or $293,000, from the 2014–15 budget. 

Property taxes are not being affected by the PPS referendum approved by voters in April. The referendum affected the debt service portion of the property tax, the levy for which remains at around $1.277 million.

Teachers are getting raises of at least $500 per salary cell, depending on where a teacher is in one of the school district’s two salary schedules. Non-contracted support staff is getting raises of 25 cents per hour. Administrative support staff is getting 2 percent raises.

All but two of the school district’s administrators are getting 2 percent raises. Neal Wilkins Early Learning Center principal Kristoffer Brown is getting a 4.8 percent raise as part of also being the school district’s technology director. Platteville Middle School principal Jason Julius is getting a 2.4 percent increase to bring his salary in line with the rest of the PPS administrative team, Valenza said.

The School Board approved the teacher and staff salary increases Monday night, and the administrative increases after a closed session Monday night.

The pay increases and benefits total $103,455. The pay increases have less impact on the budget because the school district has one fewer administrator with the retirement of Westview Elementary School principal Don Shaw. Shaw is being replaced by Lisa Finnegan, formerly the school district’s IT director and assessment coordinator. 

The annual meeting will be held in the Platteville High School Auditorium Aug. 24, with the budget hearing at 7:30 and the meeting at 8 p.m. The School Board will hold a special meeting after the annual meeting to vote on a construction manager contract for the building project, which Valenza said is projected to be completed by the beginning of the 2016–17 school year.