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La Crosse school district taxes could go up more than 2 percent this year

Property taxes could go up for residents in the School District of La Crosse.

The La Crosse school board approved the proposed 2017-18 budget at Monday’s meeting as well as setting an Oct. 16 date for the public hearing on the proposal. The property tax levy is projected to increase 2.24 percent, according to the district’s budget book with the tax rate projected to increase 2.2 percent to around $12.18 per $1,000 of property value.

According to the budget, state aid is projected to decrease by about $450,000 for the district, while the property tax levy is projected to increase by nearly $1.1 million to $49.85 million. The total revenue limit for the district, which is a combination of state aid and local property taxes, is expected to increase slightly to $77.2 million.

“Whatever the revenue limit is, the state money is part of it,” La Crosse Director of Business Services Patricia Sprang said. “The balance goes to the taxpayers.”

Budget details can still change as enrollment numbers are verified and local property values are finalized. Sprang said she had just gotten updated property valuation numbers for the district and that information would be updated before the final budget is approved.

Also outstanding are the number of voucher students Aquinas Catholic Schools has this. The Wisconsin Parental Choice Program provides public dollars for students meeting income eligibility guidelines to attend a private school, but that money flows through the school district, influencing the final budget numbers.

The public will get a chance to weigh in on the budget at the public hearing, which is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 16 in the Hogan Administrative Building auditorium. The board is expected to give its final approval to the budget at its Oct. 30 meeting.

“It is always piecemeal information we receive on the budget,” Sprang said. “We won’t know the final details until after Oct. 15.”

Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune  

Layla Greer, 7, works on Lego Creator on her tablet computer Monday during her first-grade class at State Road Elementary School.