PdC School Board approves 2023-24 district budget

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When the Prairie du Chien School Board convened on Oct. 23, the Board was presented with the 2023-24 budget for approval. It’s the special time that only comes once a year, like Christmas and tax season.

In attendance were board members Lonnie Achenbach, Board President; Nick Gilberts, Vice President; Dustin Brewer, Clerk; Thomas Peterson; James Hackett; and Lacie Anthony. Also in attendance were District Administrator Andrew Banasik and District Bookkeeper Vicki Waller. Board Treasurer Michael Higgins attended remotely.

Waller presented four options for a 2023-24 budget to the board, with mil rates at 5.49 for the revised budget, and 6.11, 7.00 and 8.37 for the other three options. Waller stated the school district had kept the mil rate at 10.66; however, an increase in property valuations has caused “a change in mind set” to focus on the school levy amount. In 2021-22, the levy amount was $7.1 million and in 2022-23, the levee increased to $7.9 million. The revised budget presented with a mil rate of 5.49, reflected changes made after numbers from the state of Wisconsin were received.

“Last Spring, we didn’t know the property values, and at that point in time, we thought dropping the mill rate to 8.00 would be feasible,” Waller said. “Since that time, we found out property values went up another 15 percent.” Waller also noted the property valuations had risen 15 percent in 2022 as well as 2023. 

The board voted to unanimously approve option two for the 2023-24 budget, which would decrease the mill rate from 10.66 to 6.11 and set the tax levy at $5.2 million.

“So, the mil rate will drop, but taxes may not,” Banasik said in reference to the increase in property valuations. Waller noted the school’s mil rate, which measures dollars taxed per $1,000 on property value, would be combined with municipal taxes, county taxes and vocational taxes for property owners’ taxes.


Roofing Projects

Waller said all three schools were in need of roof repairs, but that the High School was “most in need” according to reports.

“We have evidence of that: when it rains we have 10-15 buckets in the Little Theater,” Banasik said. The projected cost for all repairs on the High School was approximately $924,000. Repairs for all buildings would cost $1.9 million.

Banasik said Bluff View’s repairs have been assessed to be “four to five years out.”

Banasik said the possibility has been discussed for the school to pay for the repairs to the High School without going to referendum. Banasik said the next step will be to look at RFP’s for the work.

Waller noted the district put $300,000 into their building fund last year and had planned to add $100,000 per year. The board approved an increase to $200,000 toward Fund 46 as part of the 2023-24 budget approval.


Other News:

-Waller said, “It’s projected that we’re going to see an increase in operating referendums across the state.” In 2022, there were more operating referendums in any year since 2000.

-Waller provided an update to the Capital Expansion Fund 41, which contained money available for projects involving school buildings and sites. The fund’s balance stood at $154,146.81.

-The board approved a resolution to give the school district authority for the sale of real property. Waller stated it was an annual resolution and was not tied to a specific sale but gave district authority to make sales decisions for property sales in the future if needed.

-The board set school board salaries at $600 for regular members and $900 for the Board President.

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