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Racine Unified Tax Rate Going Up 6.32% for 2011-2012

With various aid monies getting reduced, the district is raising taxes to help bridge the gap.

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 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.

Sean Waiss August 15, 2011 at 04:27 PM
Talia, you are obviously entitled to your opinions regarding the source of this failure, but let me ask this. Public schools were founded on the principle of delivering what was needed locally, and having the services paid for by the "locals." Why did Wisconsin, or any state, or even the Federal government for that matter, ever take that principle away and start funding "local" schools with tax money paid to the state of Federal government? I have real concerns about a school district "expecting" the state and Feds to provide for a portion of their budget, though I understand why it became an expectation (once started it is very difficult to stop). Shouldn't the funding of all local school districts, regardless of location, be based solely upon what that district entity can collect from local taxes? That would eliminate a very large portion of the taxes currently paid to the states and Feds, which would in turn allow the school districts to increase their taxes accordingly. I'll continue this into the next posting.
Sean Waiss August 15, 2011 at 04:27 PM
Assuming a combined income of $80,000, and a $250K assessed home, a household currently pays $2.5K to RUSD, another $3K in local property taxes, and then all the various sales taxes (estimate another $2.5K conservatively), and another $10K in Fed income tax, $4K in WI income tax, wouldn't it make a lot more sense to keep the taxes as much at the local level as possible (total amount is $22K)? So instead, wouldn't the same tax amounts make more sense as $7.5K to RUSD, $3K to local, $2.5K sales tax (with $1.5 going to the schools), $8.5K Fed and $2K WI income tax (also totals $22K)? I fully expect the Feds to hold up their end and tax us as much as possible, but the only Constitutional requirement is for National protection (and not just against overseas entities, but that, too, is another story). Why should RUSD expect a "rebate" of taxes from the Feds and the state? Can anybody provide a cogent answer to that?
CowDung August 15, 2011 at 04:44 PM
The main purpose for getting the state and/or federal governments involved in funding local schools is the disparity that exists between relatively poor inner city districts and the wealthier suburban districts. It makes sense that the funding formula for state aid would favor districts that don't have high enough property values and corresponding tax levies to support their schools.
Tom September 05, 2011 at 01:59 AM
Paying even $0.10 to RUSD is all I care to offer. The mismanagement, wasted resources are all brought together into a school system that utterly fails to even score 50% on the WKCE-CRT tests. http://tjkenny.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/racine-unified-is-a-failure/ RUSD is a failure that only throws good money right down the drain.
Duane Michalski September 05, 2011 at 02:03 AM
I will not say what I want to...it would get me banned from patch forever!!!

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