by Steve Prestegard
The portion of property tax bills that funds Platteville Public Schools will be increasing slightly more than estimated at the school district’s annual meeting in late August.
The School Board voted 7–0, with board members Brian Miesen and Heather Connolly absent, to certify the school district’s 2015–16 tax levy at almost $8.95 million, up 3.82 percent from one year ago.
The result is a mil rate of $10.86 per $1,000 assessed valuation, 1.17 percent more than one year ago, and 1 cent per $1,000 more than estimated at the annual meeting.
The owner of a $150,000 house in the school district will pay an estimated $1,629 in school taxes, up from $1,609.50 one year ago.
The tax levy increased despite the school district’s budget decreasing 1.09 percent from last year, to $16.41 million. The School Board also approved the final version of the school district’s 2015–16 budget, which was $16,680 more than approved at the annual meeting.
The tax levy increased despite the budget decrease “because of the decrease of state aid that we received,” said PPS superintendent Connie Valenza. State aid dropped 3.58 percent, or $276,251.
Some of the tax increase was because of the legal requirement for the school district to pay off the $12,521 debt in its Fund 80 Community Service Fund, which funded the school district’s Children Afterschool Receiving Enrichment program at Neal Wilkins Early Learning Center. The program was discontinued last year after running a deficit its last two years. A state law prohibiting a tax levy for special fund deficits ended with the end of the state’s 2014–15 fiscal year June 30.
While the tax levy to fund general operations increased 4.74 percent, the long-term debt tax levy decreased 2.45 percent. Bonds for the school district’s $16.6 million building project were priced low enough that they will be paid off two years earlier than the 20-year borrowing schedule drawn up for the project, Valenza said.
School district enrollment as measured Sept. 18 in the state-mandated third-Friday enrollment count increased by three students from annual meeting estimates.