School districts across Wisconsin are planning next year's budgets. Today the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released information showing 64 percent of the state's public school districts will receive less state aid for 2012-13 than the previous year. Ashwaubenon is one district which will receive less. Green Bay on the other hand will get more. How those decisions were made - is what we'll try to explain.
Next year - the Green Bay Area School District is proposing a roughly $238 million budget. Of it - $127 million is coming from state aid. Alan Wagner says that's a 6 percent increase from last year.
"Because property values are going down and student enrollments are going up, which 80 percent of districts are declining," say Chief Financial Officer Alan Wagner, of the Green Bay School District. "That's why we see a big increase of $7 million."
In Ashwaubenon - the reverse has happened. The proposed budget for 2012-13 is roughly $30 million - of which approximately $7.8 million will come from state aid. Assistant Superintendent of the Ashwaubenon School District, Keith Lucius, says that's a 15 percent decrease from last year - caused mainly because of an expected increase in property values within the village with the maturing of a tax incremental finance district, which puts improved property back on the tax rolls.
"We saw a significant increase in our property value, which meant we saw a significant increase in our property value per student, "said Lucius.
Which also meant Ashwaubenon was considered more property rich and less in need to state aid.
"We've known we were going to have a 15 percent decrease this year, last year and for several years to come," said Lucius. "We were able to structure our debt payments so that our residents won't see a significant increase in their property taxes."
And where does that state aid go? To lessen the final burden on school district property owners.
"The money doesn't go to salaries or programs," said Wagner. "It only goes toward reduction in the tax levy."
The tax levy in Ashwaubenon will increase less than half a percent in the 2012-2013 budget
In Green Bay, the levy will remain the same, but with falling property values the tax rate may be increased slightly. Meaning a roughly $37 increase - per $100,000 in property value.