Tax Bill from Racine Unified School District to Climb 6.42 Percent
Officials say spending increased because of a reduction in less state funding and undertaking $33.8 million in facility improvements. The bottom line is the school portion of your tax bill will increase.
Racine Unified School District taxes would increase more than 6 percent for 2012-13, based on the interim budget the board meeting is expected to adopt at its meeting tonight.
If approved, the school district would raise the estimated property tax rate by $.57 per $1,000 equalized value of their property, or 6.42 percent, to $9.51 per $1,000 equalized value. This means if your home is worth $250,000, you would pay $2,377.50 on the school portion of your tax bill.
- Interested in going to the meeting? The Racine Unified School Board will meet at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Administrative Service Center, 3109 Mount Pleasant St., building 2 door F.
“The Board approves the Interim budget as the District’s spending plan until the Original budget is approved in October,” wrote David Hazen in a memo to the School Board. “The 2012/2013 Interim budget is used to start the fiscal year and is used to prepare for cash flow borrowing, if required, to be presented to the BOE (Board of Education) in July.”
The proposed tax levy — the total amount of money collected through property taxes — is $85,134,000, an increase of $3,563,000 or 4.37 percent over last year. However, the general fund spending increased to $186 million, an increase of about $1 million or a half-percent. The general fund makes up almost 90 percent of the total budget.
The budget assumes that the property value for the district will decrease 1.89 percent.
The increase in the property tax levy is attributed to a loss in state funding, declining enrollment/revenue adjustments and loss in revenue from school choice vouchers, according to the budget document.
“Open enrollment tuition payments by RUSD are expected to exceed $5.6 million,” according to the document. “General state aid is estimated to decrease approximately $2.4 million which represents a 2.1 percent reduction. Of the decrease in state aid $1.12 million is part of the 'Voucher Tax' to fund payments to private schools for students participating in the state parental choice program.”
Other items that factored into the increase were:
- A 10 percent increase in health coverage costs.
- $33.8 million for facility improvements with the Trane and Johnson Controls performance contracts.
The budget also points out that the growing number of poor students, especially at the secondary school level.
“Since the winter of 2008, the percentage of (economically disadvantaged) students in the middle schools has increased from 53.7 percent to 66.1 percent. The high schools increased from 40.2 percent to 56.4 percent,” according to the budget document.
District officials also pointed to what they call a “voucher tax,” where funds the district would have gotten are diverted to private schools through their parental choice program.
“If these funds were not diverted for vouchers, the RUSD property tax increase would have been 3 percent with a tax rate of $9.39 per $1,000 of equalized value,” according to the budget document.