Wauwatosa School Board approves final budget with lowered tax levy

Wauwatosa School Board approves final budget with lowered tax levy
Posted: Nov. 2, 2017

Residents in the Wauwatosa School District will be assessed a lower tax rate from the District in 2018 with a revised final budget approved by the Wauwatosa School Board for the 2017-2018 school year.


The Board approved the budget and set the tax levy during its October 23rd meeting following the release of final state aid figures from the completed state budget. The final District budget increased by $1,051,045 to $92,284,107.


The School Board determined that $46,367,318 will need to be raised through taxation to operate and maintain the schools of the District for the 2017-18 school year. This is a decrease of $1,275,801 from $47,643,119 in the 2016-2017 school year.


Property owners will be assessed an estimated net tax rate of $7.12 per $1,000 of assessed property value, down from $7.48 the year before. The 4.8% decrease will save the owner of a $220,000 home about $79.


In addition to a lowered tax rate, the budget also includes an increase in teacher salaries by almost $220,000 overall. Retained teaching received a 2.08 percent increase as a group.


“Our teachers are the core of what we do and the success we have in our classrooms. While we know this isn’t a large amount, we want our teachers to know they are a priority and in a time when it’s popular to jump from job to job, we reward teachers who stay with us,” said Superintendent Phil Ertl.


Teachers' total salaries generally consist of base wages plus supplemental pay. Base wages can be increased only through bargaining and only within the confines of the relevant Consumer Price Index, which is 1.26% for 2017-18. On the other hand, supplemental pay can be unilaterally increased by the Board.


In Wauwatosa, teachers' total supplemental pay has exceeded any base wage increase they could have received. Over the past four years, the Wauwatosa School District has paid a total of $2.5 million - or on average, about $5,000 per teacher - more than what teachers would have received through maximum base wage increases in contract negotiations.


“I think it’s really important to understand how we spend our money and that there is an alignment to our strategic plan and mission,” said Ertl.


Funds were also allocated to increase the number of instructional coaches who help District teaching staff grow and improve their instructional practices, as well as principal coaching. And, the District is working to grow the STEM programs at both middle schools; there will soon be two sections at each grade level at both schools.


Other 2017-2018 Wauwatosa School District final budget highlights:


  • The District remains debt-free.
  • Health benefits costs to the District did not increase.
  • Secondary lunch prices increased 20 cents as required to reach an average price that is above the federal “Free Lunch per Meal Reimbursement” which is currently $3.22.
  • Capital projects funding remains limited as the District continues its Facilities Study process to determine a long-term Master Facilities Plan.


To view the full budget presentation via our YouTube channel, click HERE. To view the slide presentation, click HERE.