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Colfax has 36th lowest mill rate among CESA 11 schools

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX —  The School District of Colfax has a mill rate of $8.41, placing it fourth from the bottom in a list of mill rates for 39 schools in Cooperative Education Service Agency No. 11.

Even with the referendum, Colfax has a lower mill rate for the 2017-2018 school year than most of the other schools in CESA 11, said William C. Yingst Jr., district administrator, at the Colfax Board of Education’s December 18 meeting.

Voters approved a $7.2 million referendum in November of 2016. Construction projects, which were completed last summer, included building an addition on to Colfax Elementary to replace temporary classrooms that had been in use for about 30 years; moving the high school office to the perimeter of the building; remodeling the commons area by the gymnasium; updating infrastructure; replacing parts of the roof; and constructing a new bus maintenance building.

According to information included in the school board packet, only three other schools — Grantsburg, Birchwood and Webster — have a lower mill rate than Colfax.

Grantsburg’s mill rate is $8.14 per $1,000 of property value; Birchwood’s mill rate is $6.19 per $1,000 of property value; and Webster’s mill rate is $5.45 per $1,000 of property value.

The school district with the highest mill rate in CESA 11 is Elmwood at $14.88 per $1,000 of property value.

A $100,000 property in the Elmwood School District would pay nearly $650 more in property taxes for the 2017-2018 school year than a property of the same value in Colfax.

The referendum debt levy in Colfax is $286,338. Elmwood has no referendum debt tax levy.

Colfax’s total tax levy is $2.78 million. Elmwood’s total levy is $2.14 million.

Pepin is the second-highest mill rate at $14.11 per $1,000 of property value, and Plum City is the third highest mill rate at $12.89.

Prescott is the fourth highest mill rate at $12.38.

The Elk Mound school district’s mill rate of $8.51 is 10 cents higher than the Colfax mill rate.

Of the school districts in Dunn County, Boyceville has the highest mill rate at $10.67.

A $100,000 property in the Boyceville school district would pay $226 more per year than a property with the same value in Colfax.

The Menomonie school district has a mill rate of $9.65.

Glenwood City, a school district similar in size to Colfax, has a mill rate of $9.82.

A $100,000 property in Glenwood City would pay $141 more in property taxes than a property of the same value in Colfax.

Other business

In other business, the Colfax Board of Education:

• Learned that the school district has received $9,913.04 for timber logged off the school district’s property in the Town of Otter Creek. The school district receives money for timber from that property every seven to 10 years, Yingst said. The money goes into the school district’s general fund, but if Mark Mosey, high school biology teacher, needs to make improvements at the school district’s environmental site, the money can be used for improvements, he said. Some recent improvements at the environmental site include a storm shelter, equipment for boiling down sap from maple trees in the spring to make maple syrup and for signs, Yingst said.

• Learned that Colfax has received an increase of $102,696 for state equalization aid.

• Approved accepting a donation of $5,000 from the Sanger Family Foundation. Years ago, the mother of people associated with the foundation lived at Area Nursing Home in Colfax, Yingst said. Area Nursing Home became known as the Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center several years before the facility moved in 2012 to the south side of Colfax. The foundation has been sending a check to the school district every year for many years, Yingst said.

• Approved a motion to adjust the 2017-2018 budget to reflect actual revenue and expenditure amounts.  The general fund total revenues are $8.86 million, compared to $8.596 in the originally proposed budget presented at the annual meeting in July. Total general fund expenditures of $8.72 million, compared to $8.58 million in the original budget. The ending fund balance is listed as $1.99 million, compared to $1.87 million in the original budget proposed at the annual meeting.

• Learned that Rachel Knutson, daughter of Don and Pam Knutson, would like to run for state office for the Future Business Leaders of America. Colfax has not had many state officers in clubs and organizations, so it is a great opportunity, Yingst said. The total cost for having an FBLA member serving in a state-wide office position is $4,700. School board members should think about if they want to change the policy, Yingst said. The election is February 3.