by Superintendent Mitch Wainwright

It’s hard to believe that one year ago, the district was asking the taxpayers for permission to issue debt to add on to and remodel the elementary school, along with asking for additional operating money.  During those meetings last fall, we presented information on the property tax impact if one, or both, referendum questions passed. R. W. Baird gave us their best advice, based on current market trends, with a touch of conservative thinking.  Baird was forecasting a bond sale with an interest rate of just over 4% and property values growing about 2%. Based on that line of thinking, the mill rate was projected to increase for school taxes $1.78 for the building referendum and $0.74 for the operating referendum, for a total impact of $252 for a home valued at $100,000.  If your home was valued at $200,000 the impact would have been $504. These amounts were averaged over 20 years, which is the amount of time to pay off the building referendum.

Today, we know the bonds were sold at a lower interest rate of 2.88% and the property values increased at just over 4% according to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.  The bad news is that property owners will see an increase in their property tax bills this year. The good news is the school’s portion of that increase will be about $0.79.  This means that on a $100,000 home the increase will be $79, or on a $200,000 home $158.

There are many other factors that impact your property tax bill.  The school district is oftentimes left to be the “bad guy.” Last year, the mill rate for the school district declined, yet property tax bills increased.  The county, city, municipality, and Southwest Technical College also collect money from your property taxes. This year, the city is building, the county is looking to build, and Southwest Tech continues to grow.  When your property tax bill comes this year, please make sure you take a close look at where your money, and the increases, are going. It is unfortunate that we fund education in this manner, but your school district is working hard to make sure your money is spent wisely. Not every increase in your property taxes has a direct connection to the school district.

I want to thank the community for all of the continued support!