Ripon Region School District Local Property Taxes to Decrease for the 2021-22 School Year | New
While residents of Ripon can expect a decrease in their property tax bill from the Ripon Area School District (RASD), the district’s income limit is frozen for the next two school years during times of high demand. inflation and rising insurance costs.
At the SADR annual meeting on Monday, residents of the district unanimously approved the passage of a tax levy of about $ 6 million for the 2021-2022 school year.
The levy will consist of $ 251,272 for community services, approximately $ 2.16 million for debt service and $ 3.64 million for general operations, according to the annual meeting financial report of the 2021 district.
The district’s thousandth rate – or its tax rate per $ 1,000 of property value – will drop about 4.8%, from $ 8.95 to $ 8.49. That means homeowners will pay $ 849 for every $ 100,000 of property value, which is a decrease of $ 46 from last year, the financial report noted.
The 2021-2022 budget forecasts that RASD will have $ 23.6 million in operating income and expenses. The district will receive $ 14.6 million in state aid, $ 4.1 million in local property tax, $ 2.1 million in federal aid and approximately $ 2.8 million in registrations open, according to the financial report.
One of the reasons for the drop in local property taxes was that the state government of Wisconsin provided more general assistance to schools without raising the revenue cap, according to the financial report.
This means that the districts do not receive an increase in income, so the share of income from local taxpayers decreases while the share of state aid increases, said Jonah Adams, commercial director of RASD.
As the district receives about $ 400,000 more in state aid than last year, Adams explained that the district’s revenue will be locked in at 2020-21 levels for the next two school years starting in 2021- 2022.
“When [the state] increase [aid] from $ 400,000, the portion paid by local taxpayers decreases by about $ 400,000, ”he said. “This is why we are seeing real savings on the thousandth rate and local property taxes. “
While lowering local property taxes is “a good thing for local owners,” it could create challenges for the district over time, Adams noted.
“We have a pot of federal dollars that we can spend, but we won’t have inflationary increases,” he said, noting that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 4.34% , a tool used to measure inflation, is almost 3% higher than last year. year. “We have to be careful about the income we have. “
Adams explained that the district tries to keep wages consistent with the CPI in order to fairly compensate its workers.
If the CPI remains high – and the SADR does not increase wages to match inflation – it could risk offering “uncompetitive pay,” which could cause staff to seek work elsewhere, a he noted.
The high CPI could also force the district to make further budget cuts if it wants to keep wages consistent with inflation, Adams added.
“This is something new … the previous high CPI over the past 24 years was 3.84% in 2008,” he said. “It’s the tallest we’ve seen in a long time.”
Another financial challenge facing the district is rising insurance costs that outweigh other costs, Adams noted.
“It’s just growing really, really fast and taking more and more of our budget,” he said. “We may need to consider new methods of reducing medical insurance spending, or risk future cuts in programming. … We don’t know what the future holds, but our medical expenses are increasing very rapidly.
Adams said he was in the early stages of working with Superintendent Mary Whitrock to explore ways to reduce insurance costs.
Although the district’s income limit is frozen for the next two school years, the business manager said SADR still has federal stimulus funds that it can use over a two-year period.
He noted that federal funds are the reason the state government has frozen district income limits, but it is not clear whether the state will increase income limits and state aid for make up for the lack of stimulus funds in two years.
“We don’t know what the next biennial budget will look like, if it is going to replace all that federal money that we just got, if it will be at that level or if it will be something lower,” Adams said. . .
The Ripon School Board has yet to vote on the 2021-2022 budget before it is finalized.