The School District of Reedsburg could see a decrease in its tax levy during the 2019-2020 school year.

The school’s tax levy is projected to decrease from $12.6 million to $12.2 million, a 2.7% decrease from last fiscal year. Business Manager Pat Ruddy presented the information at the July 15 budget hearing. Electors approved the item at the annual meeting following the budget hearing.

The board will finalize the 2019-2020 budget and set the tax levy this fall, after the third Friday count in September and state equalization numbers are known.

The projected mill rate is $8.27 per $1,000 of equalized property value, a 5% decrease from last years mill rate with forecasted property values increase of 2.4%. The district projects to receive $17.2 million in state aid, a six percent increase from the 2018-19 school year.

Ruddy shared at the budget hearing expenditures could decrease 29% next year because of construction projects from the $32 million referendum wrapping up. The referendum set aside money for several upgrades including building of the new Prairie Ridge Intermediate School, installing safe and secure entrances and constructing a new transportation facility at Webb Middle School.

Ruddy presented the district’s planned deficit of $336,057 the board approved last month for the 2019-2020 school year. He said the per pupil aid boost approved by Gov. Tony Evers could reduce that number to a $162,000 deficit. The shortfall would come from the fund balance. The district projects to run a planned deficit of $176,000 this fiscal year.

The numbers don’t include any additional aid the district could receive, including money the Department of Public Instruction announced it would distribute last month. One of the grants the district is expected to receive include $12,000 for a Special Education Incentive Grant.

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“We haven’t had a chance to incorporate all the changes,” Ruddy said.

Evers approved his 2019-2021 budget July 3, which included 78 line-in veto items. One of the items included an additional $87 million over the biennium in per pupil aid and an extra $65 million in school spending. The change sets per pupil aid at $742, a $63 increased from the $679 per pupil aid originally projected.

Items approved by electors at the annual meeting was to set school board members salary at $3,200 for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, a $100 increase from last year. Electors also approved the district to offer student accidental insurance to all students; set next year’s budget hearing and annual meeting for July 20, 2020 with a starting time of 7:30 p.m. followed immediately by the annual meeting.

Regular board meeting

The board approved to authorize the dissolution of the Wisconsin Other Post Employment Benefits Trust for the school district effective at the start of the 2019-2020 fiscal year. The item was approved in 2013 to fund post-employment retirement benefits.

Ruddy said the school district no longer offers the benefit and the number of people receiving it are declining, with about ten retirees expected to continue that health insurance plan at the end of the next fiscal year. So there isn’t a need to continue the trust because the expense is within the districts operating costs. The expense will operate as a “pay as you go” method.

The board discussed a first reading of handbook changes during its regular meeting.

The Cap Times reporter Briana Reilly contributed to this report.

Follow Erica Dynes on Twitter

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