Because of reductions in state education aid and the school voucher program, Racine Unified School District residents are going to see a 6.32 percent increase in their tax rate for the 2011-2012 school year.
Property owners will pay $8.99 per $1,000 of equalized value. And while that's a pretty hefty chunk of change, overall the increase is less than the 7.77 percent residents got for the 2010-2011 school year.
There are a number of reasons behind the increase, but the primary cause is the loss of state general education aid. That $13.5 million change gets added to the loss of about $920,000 in high poverty aid and the $618,400 needed to pay for school vouchers.
Unified's budget also assumes a .5 percent decrease in total assessed value for the district. That number should be firmed up after the state releases its numbers on Aug. 15 and forwards figures to the district in the weeks following.
For example, a homeowner with a house worth $250,000 would pay $2,247.50 for the Racine Unified portion of their tax bill.
Total loss to the district is $14.98 million, or a 10.8 percent reduction, the highest of any school district outside Milwaukee.
State revenue cap guidelines allow the district to increase the tax levy to replace general aid and high poverty aid. Agreements reached in March with district unions saved about $19 million, and cuts in various areas saved another $5 million.
Racine Unified will also pay out $4.35 million for the 751 students expected to leave the district through open enrollment. All told, the district expects to have a net enrollment loss of about 221 students, which also impacts the amount the state contributes since aid is based on students sitting at desks in classrooms.
There is a public hearing at 5:30 pm on Aug. 15 at the beginning of the regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting at the Administration Building, 2220 Northwestern Avenue. Call (262) 635-5600.