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Schools chalk up their tax levies

Large hikes are erased this time

Oct. 26, 2010

With the November deadline looming, school districts finalized their budgets and property tax levies in the last week.

Levy increases in general were much smaller than this time last year, thanks mostly to better-than-expected state aid - which came as a relief to residents, school administrators and School Board members alike.

However, many districts had to make reductions to bring down levies, and fears remained about the uncertainty of the economy and problems at the state level trickling down.

Oak Creek-Franklin

The Oak Creek-Franklin School District's tax levy was the only one in the area to go down from last year, dropping 0.8 percent, thanks to state aid increasing by 7.3 percent.

The district also saved by reducing and restructuring its debt, Business Services Director Cathy Cramer said.

The $32.1 million levy is a slight decrease from $32.3 million a year ago. The tax rate in Oak Creek-Franklin will be $8.93 per $1,000 of equalized property value, up from $8.63.

Whitnall

The Whitnall School District, one of the hardest hit last year by a drop in state aid, saw a levy increase of 1.3 percent.

The board passed the budget and levy on a 4-2 vote, with T.J. Anderson and Bernard Shaw voting "no." Board member Nancy Zaborowski, who was home ill, did not attend the meeting.

The tax rate will be about $10.26 of property value, up from $9.56 last year.

Superintendent Lowell Holtz said previously that district officials and board members worked hard to keep a tax increase minimal and brought the levy down as far as they could.

Franklin

Franklin's levy is up 2.9 percent compared to last year. The board passed the measure on a 4-2 vote, with Janet Evans and Linda Witkowski voting "no."

"We're pretty pleased to be able to come in at 2.9," Superintendent Steve Patz said. "We would all like it to be lower, but it's a responsible levy" in terms of continuing good programming in the district, he said.

The levy is slightly down from the annual meeting, when administrators projected a 3.9 percent increase.

The tax rate will be $11.66 per $1,000 of property value, also a 2.9 percent increase over last year.

Greendale

The Greendale School District property tax levy will increase about 1.6 percent. The tax rate will increase to $12.23 per $1,000 of equalized property value, compared to $11.42 last year.

The levy was a bit higher than what was presented in the annual meeting because enrollment increased more than expected.

The district this year also had to make about $568,000 in reductions after the School Board chose not to pursue another operational referendum, which meant $550,000 in additional revenue.

By the numbers

0.8

percentage decrease in the Oak Creek-Franklin School District property tax levy

1.3

percentage increase in the Whitnall levy

1.6

percentage increase in the Greendale levy

2.9

percentage increase in the Franklin levy

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