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School District Projects Tax Levy Will Hold Steady

Oak Creek-Franklin will receive more-than-expected state aid that will allow the property levy to stay about the same compared to last year.

Next year's Oak Creek-Franklin School District property tax levy would stay about the same under projections officials presented Monday.

The budget estimates show the levy rising 0.77 percent ($32.1 million to $32.3 million). The tax rate would decrease from $8.78 per $1,000 of equalized property value to $8.68.

The district was able to keep the levy steady thanks to more-than-expected state aid.

Administrators feared the district's state aid would drop by about $3.8 million, or about 15 percent. But they got good news at the end of June when the state Department of Public Instruction released state aid estimates that showed Oak Creek-Franklin gaining $408,153 in aid payments, a 1.5 percent increase.

"We didn't have the worst-case scenario," School Superintendent Sara Burmeister said.

Nearly two-thirds of school districts in Wisconsin will likely see a drop in state aid, according to a Journal Sentinel report, though some suburban Milwaukee districts like Oak Creek will see increases.

The newspaper noted that state aid is based on a complicated formula that includes factors like per-pupil spending and property values. The lower the per-pupil spending and property values, the higher the state aid. Oak Creek-Franklin reportedly has the lowest per-student spending in the metro area, according to a Milwaukee Magazine report, so it's in line for more state aid.

The state aid numbers will be finalized in October, though Burmeister said she doesn't expect a dramatic difference from the DPI estimates.

Salary increases

The budget was presented Monday to the School Board, which also approved wage increases for three groups of staff members.

School Board members approved 3.16 percent increases for custodians, non-represented staff and administrative and non-represented professional staff.

The only group left to settle a contract is the teachers union. Burmeister said negotiations have not yet started.

The board also has to approve a compensation package for Burmeister. It delayed doing so Monday following a closed-session meeting.

Annual meeting

Residents can hear about the budget in greater detail at the annual meeting, which will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 20 at , 9330 S. Shepard Ave.

There, residents and board members will cast a nonbinding vote on the proposal. The board won't finalize the budget until October, as it is still waiting for several factors, such as enrollment, to become clear.

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