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SUPERINTENDENT'S COLUMN: A trend of lower local levy's

The Ellsworth Community School District Board of Education met on Oct. 22 to finalize the tax levy for the 2018-2019 school year. Each year, the district must certify the levy prior to Nov. 1.

Districts around the state receive the final information from the Wisconsin Department of Public

Instruction to allow for this in mid-October.

This year's levy has been certified at $9,611,716. This year's levy demonstrates a trend of lower local levy's over the past two years.

• This year's levy is $105,258 less than last year's levy and $463,554 less than the 2016-2017 school year.

• The mill rate for this school year is 10.09. This is a drop of $69 per $100,000 in home value. This follows a drop of $83 per $100,000 in home value last year. An interesting note is that the mill rate of 10.09 for this school year is now lower than the mill rate the year prior to the approval of the $31.9 million for the new Ellsworth Elementary School. (The 2015-2016 mill rate was 10.87)

Some major factors that have reduced the levy are:

• The operational referendum approved by voters last year was reduced to $1 million from $1.3 million that had been in place for the previous three years. The current operational referendum is in place for the next four school years.

• The debt for the middle school construction and high school addition was retired last year, lowering debt payments for the district.

• The mill rate (dollars taxed per $1,000 in home value) has seen a large decrease over the past two years due to the lower levy and the high property growth trend we are seeing as a district.

This past year the district saw a 5.2 percent property growth compared to a state average of 4 percent. With continued local support, an increase in student population, ongoing investments in our facilities, a focus on continuing to improve student achievement, and positive trends in the local tax levy we are making great strides in moving the district forward.