By Dave Fidlin


The Washington-Caldwell School District is increasing its property tax levy, though the mill rate is expected to decrease in year-over-year comparisons.

The K-8 feeder district’s budget was solidified Oct. 30 at the Washington-Caldwell annual meeting. School Board members and several district-level staffers were in attendance. No one from the community weighed in on the budget plan.

The district’s general fund – the lion’s share of the overall budget that includes day-to-day operating expenses – clocks in at $2.46 million. A year ago, the budget was $2.45 million.

Rachel Opgenorth, district bookkeeper and financial secretary, said she was able to assemble a balanced budget, based on the range of data that has funneled in, including state aid, enrollment figures and other factors.

“I’m predicting revenues will take care of this year’s expenses,” Opgenorth said.

Washington-Caldwell’s largest income source — the property tax levy — totals $1.53 million and is a 1.2 percent increase from last year’s levy of $1.51 million.

The mill rate, meanwhile, is set to decrease 3 cents in year-over-year comparisons, from $7.43 per $1,000 of equalized value to $7.40 per $1,000 of equalized value.

Mirroring a scenario in a number of districts across Wisconsin, Washington-Caldwell is receiving less money from the state this year.

General state aid is $499,500, down from the $588,122 received a year ago. Categorical state aid, meanwhile, is $8,325, down from $9,181 received in the 2016-17 school year budget.

In addition to the general fund, Washington-Caldwell has funds for several other purposes, including special education.

Opgenorth said the fund for serving special education students has increased $63,056, from $326,506 in the 2016-17 school year budget to $389,562. As with many of the other surrounding districts, Washington-Caldwell is part of a special education consortium.

Other highlights of the 2017-18 budget include the capital projects fund. District officials are adding $25,000 to this section of the budget, bringing its balance to $78,215.

Washington-Caldwell’s School Board and administrators historically have tried to set money aside for large-scale facilities-related projects. The district remains debt-free.

For the complete story on the school district’s annual meeting, see the Nov. 3 edition of the Waterford Post.