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Glendale - Taxes are increasing for homeowners in the Nicolet School District this year, but not quite as high as advertised during the April referendum.

The tax rate will increase from $488.06 per $100,000 of valuation to $493.31 per $100,000 of valuation. That means the owner of a $350,000 home will pay $1,726.59 in school taxes - a $18.38 increase over last year's school taxes. The tax levy will increase 2.6 percent from $18.8 million to $19.2 million.

The tax rate increase adopted at the annual budget meeting on Monday, Aug. 22 is slightly lower than what Nicolet homeowners had been bracing for after the April referendum, which predicted homeowners would pay an additional $7 per $100,000 of value for the next six years. The adopted tax rate will increase taxes by $5.25 per $100,000 of value.

The April referendum allowed Nicolet to exceed the state revenue limit by $3.15 million per year for the next six years, replacing the expired $2.15 million per year referendum approved in 2011. The April 2016 referendum, plus approximately $100,000 from an energy efficiency exemption, allowed the general fund of the budget to increase $1.1 million to $18.2 million. That increase was partially offset by the 46-percent decrease in the debt service fund, which dropped from $1.36 million to $728,603.

At the annual budget meeting, Nicolet Superintendent Robert Kobylski once again thanked the community for the passage of the referendum, which was approved with 67 percent of the vote.

"More and more school districts across the state are going to their taxpayers and asking for extra dollars to fund their programs. Nicolet is no different," he said. "I'm very proud to be a member of this community. There isn't another community in the state that approved an operating referendum at a rate of 67 percent approval. That's a testament to this community's value in education."

All Nicolet staff members will receive a 1 percent salary increase this school year. The district will be spending an additional $298,971, or 3.2 percent, in wages, mostly due to the addition of a business education teacher and a social studies teacher.

The average Wisconsin school district receives 60 percent of their budget from state aid, but under a state formula designed to equalize tax rates, property-rich Nicolet receives less than 10 percent of its budget revenue from the state. Although state aid is low compared to districts statewide, the Department of Public Instruction estimates Nicolet will receive an additional $99,551 in state aid, a 9.7 percent increase from last school year. The amount of state aid will not be calculated until mid-October.

The amount of state aid Nicolet receives is based on a number of factors, including resident enrollment and the equalized value of the four communities.

Jeff Dellutri, the district's business manager, estimates resident enrollment will drop by 39 students for 2016-17. The enrollment numbers factor into a three-year rolling average formula, but will only result in a decrease of 3 students for revenue limit formula purposes, as the low 2016-17 enrollment replaces a low 2013-14 enrollment count in the three-year rolling average. The lower three-year rolling average means less state aid, which will be effective in the 2017-18 school year. Final enrollment for the 2016-2017 school year will not be calculated until Sept. 16.

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