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State school aid to Tosa drops 4.9 percent

Levy likely to increase as a result

Oct. 17, 2012

State school aid will drop 5.2 percent statewide and 4.9 percent for the Wauwatosa School District from the last school year to this, according to figures released Monday by the state Department of Public Instruction.

For Wauwatosa residents, this will mean an increase in property taxes estimated at 3.64 percent, said John Mack, the district's director of business services.

State aid to the school district will drop from $17.82 million for the 2011-2012 school year to $16.94 million for the 2012-2013 school year, a decrease of $873,570, or 4.9 percent, according to DPI figures.

School district taxpayers already were projected to pay more for two years.

At its last meeting, the Tosa School Board passed a resolution to impose a special, two-year increase in the property tax of about 2.5 percent to recoup more than $2 million it had to pay to the city in an erroneous property-tax collection case involving the Wheaton Franciscan outpatient healthcare facility at 201 N. Mayfair Road . For a home valued at $250,000, that amounted to an estimated $51 in extra property tax per year, for two years.

Mack said any levy increase would be in addition to the special two-year collection.

"Our levy is going to go up," he said, despite the fact that the district made "significant school cuts."

The news comes after the budget is completed and makes it difficult to plan because state school aid figures are released so late.

"It's not, I guess, what I had hoped," Mack said.

Other area districts saw even greater declines, while others rose.

The Elmbrook School District saw its state aid decline 11.28 percent. Brown Deer lost 15.10 percent; Glendale-River Hills dropped 14.67 percent; and Nicolet's aid fell 15.10 percent.

Among area school districts, Greendale gained 16.95 percent, and Greenfield was up 5.72 percent. Oak Creek-Franklin school aid was up 1.54 percent, and Waukesha's aid increased 1.44 percent.

Aid to the Milwaukee School District was almost flat, with a decline of just 0.60 percent.

State school aid is intended to reduce reliance on property taxation to fund public education, and seeks to guarantee "basic educational opportunity" to all students regardless of a community's ability to pay, according to the DPI.

A complex formula based on enrollment, property values, per-pupil spending and other factors affect changes in aid.

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