By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — Electors approved a property tax levy of $2,905,117 for the 2018-2019 school year at the Elk Mound school district’s annual meeting August 20.
The property tax levy, representing an increase of $27,524, is based on a revenue and expense budget of $12.8 million for this year.
The anticipated mill rate of $8.26 per $1,000 of property value is 25 cents less than last year’s mill rate of $8.51.
Per $100,000 of property value, the anticipated mill rate for this year will be $825.72, compared to $850.69 for last year.
Equalized value in the school district was $285 million in 2008-2009. The equalized value decreased to $280 million in 2012-2013.
In 2017-2018, the equalized value was $338 million.
One of the assumptions used to develop the 2018-2019 budget is the anticipation of receiving as categorical aid, and not general aid, an increase of $204 per child. The increase is only for the current school year. The state of Wisconsin continues to not allow any cost-of-living increase in the revenue limit formula.
To prepare for unexpected energy costs, the school district has included in the budget a 30 percent increase for natural gas, LP gas and vehicle fuel.
For the past two years, one percent has been added to the fund balance to increase the cash on hand. During the year, there may be a few times when a payroll is not covered until the district receives a payment from the state Department of Public Instruction. The increase in cash on hand helps decrease the chance of having to do short-term borrowing to cover expenses.
The state Legislature passed a low revenue ceiling increase this past year for districts that do not receive the $9,400 base revenue per student. Elk Mound has been receiving $9,238 per student, so the district is able to increase the base revenue to $9,400 for this year.
At this point, the numbers are all a “best guess,” said Eric Wright, superintendent.
The school district will not know for certain how many students will be attending at Elk Mound until after the third Friday in September count, and the district will not know the state-certified equalized value of the district until October.
The property tax levy officially will be set at the October 22 school board meeting.