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School budget goes up but mill rate goes down

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The Hudson Board of Education made this year's budget and school tax levy official at a special meeting last Thursday night at Willow River Elementary School.

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The board unanimously approved a levy of $$23,760,552, which translates to a mill rate of $7.77 per $1,000 of property valuation. That is down from last year's levy of $24,345,220 and a mill rate of $8.87, a decrease of 12.4 percent. The levy pays for that portion of the district's budget that is not covered by state aid and federal funds and other local sources. This year's school budget is $55,833,291. Last year's budget was $51,987,942.

The valuation of property in the district rose by $32,891,200 over last year. According to Director of Fiscal Operations Arnie Fett, the increase in valuation breaks down to one-third due to new growth in the district and two-thirds due to property valuation increases.

The budget and levy had been presented at the district's state-mandated annual meeting back in September, but final figures could not be calculated until the official enrollment count was made on the third Friday of September. Those enrollment numbers are used to calculate the amount of state aid the district receives.

School board president Annette Cook told the audience of about 14 people that this year's budget came in approximately $1.5 million less than is allowed by the state's revenue and budget cap. This is the third consecutive year the district's budget has been below revenue cap.

While there is no public comment allowed at a special meeting, Cook told the audience that the budget and levy had been open for discussion and public vote at the annual meeting as well as having been a topic at several other board meetings. When the board members voted, most of the audience held up "Vote No" signs in opposition of the board's action.

The meeting then adjourned to closed session to consider personnel issues. No action followed the closed session.

Meg Heaton can be reached at mheaton@rivertowns.net

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Meg Heaton
Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
(715) 808-8604
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