School districts are trying to find a balance between cuts in state funding and paying the bills, but the state budget crunch is ultimately leading to school districts raising taxes for homeowners.
When the state cut aid to schools, districts got the option of raising property taxes to make up the difference. But while they can raise taxes to make up whatever they’re losing in state aid, not all districts are.
The Sun Prairie School District said it has plenty going for it — a number of new schools in a few years and a new high school coming soon, but that it’s not immune to budget woes.
“We’ve got a reduction in state aid. We’ve got increasing numbers of students and we have the debt the voters approved three years ago to build the new high school,” said Tim Culver, Sun Prairie School District administrator.
Sun Prairie was in a similar situation as many Dane County districts. It could have raised the tax levy there to 14.4 percent, but instead it’s raising it to 7.7 percent, which is a $142 increase for the average $200,000 home.
“What we’re trying to do is balance out that we want the best education possible for kids, but people have to be willing to pay for the education too,” said Culver.