By KELLY T. BURHOP
N-O-W School District Administrator
The school district’s financial information was presented last week in a grid published in the County Line. The bottom line for the taxpayers is that the operational levy for the school district this year will increase by $26,339, or 1.27 percent. State-imposed revenue limits on public school districts consist of a school district’s state aid and the local property tax levy. The main factors for the 1.27 percent increase include declining enrollment experienced by the Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District the past several years, which has meant less state aid. The main reason for the declining enrollment is that the district’s current graduating classes have student numbers in the upper 40s to mid-50s. The enrollment in the 4- and 5-year-old kindergarten programs the past several years are in the upper 30s and lower 40s. The decrease in state aid has not been equal to the decrease in the overall revenue limit, which is why there is a 1.27 percent increase in the tax levy.
The 2018–19 proposed tax levy is $1,672,899 for operations and $433,100 for a referendum debt payment for a total tax levy of $2,105,999. The 2018–19 mill rate of $10.54 is an increase of $0.17 or 1.6 percent from last year. School district property valuations decreased by $771,774, or 0.4 percent. This aided the increase in the mill rate. Changes on your own personal property tax bill will vary depending on your local municipality’s property valuation changes.
As the district administrator, I will propose a balanced budget to the Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton Board of Education and electorate at the annual meeting and budget hearing. The total operational budget of $11,333,496 has increased by approximately $460,000 from 2017–18. There is a decrease in the school district’s revenue limit of $95,746, but there are significant revenue increases in several state categorical aids, including Sparsity Aid, Per Pupil Categorical Aid and High Cost Transportation Aid. There are also revenue increases with the school safety grants, which adds close to $100,000 onto the budget. Federal Title funding saw a small increase this year as well.
The main expenditure cuts were the elimination of two purchased school buses, the completion of the driveway and landscaping project, the elimination of instructional technology covered under TEACH Wisconsin and E-Rate, and cutting the costs of new playground equipment.
The main expenditure additions cover employee salaries and benefits, costs associated with the school safety grants, an increase of required special education services, and the installation of a video surveillance system within the school building that was not covered by the school safety grants.
If you have any questions about N-O-W School District finances or have any other school-related topics you would like to discuss, stop in and see me in my office here at the school building, contact me here at (608) 337-4403, e-mail me at [email protected], or attend the annual meeting and budget hearing at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, in the large conference room in the school district offices.