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Mequon-Thiensville School District passes reduced levy, spending

July 25, 2012

Mequon - The Mequon-Thiensville School District is set to reduce its levy by 0.73 percent in the coming 2012-2013 school year.

That decrease, approved at the district's annual meeting by a mixture of community and School Board members in a 76-5 vote, will be paired with a projected 0.3 percent decrease in spending, which puts the total budget at approximately $51,286,000.

The reduction in the district's revenue limit and therefore levy come after a loss of 63 students since the 2011-2012 year.

"The primary reason (for the levy decrease)," Director of Business Services Gail Grieger said, "is the decline in students."

Property values in the district are expected to drop by about 3 percent, which means that the amount a property owner would pay per $1,000 of equalized value will increase by a projected 21 cents to $8.89. For someone with a home valued at $350,000, this would result in an increase of school property taxes of $74, according to Grieger's projections.

Though a $1 million deficit was projected initially, the district is presenting a balanced budget as a result of two enrollment-driven teacher reductions, the reduction of building budgets, reductions in employee benefits, and the continuation of a two-year teacher wage freeze.

That leaves the question of what wage increases teachers may have next year, after the wage freeze, and how that will factor into the 2013-2014 budget.

"Someone is going to have to tell me what compensation is going to look like," Grieger said. "That drives the budget."

-Michael Meidenbauer

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