Bangor, Wis (WEAU)- Declining enrollment and state aid have one Western Wisconsin school district raising its tax levy. The Bangor school board approved a 2.7 million dollar tax levy last week, meaning the people of the district will pay the difference.
The levy raises the tax rate from $11.36 to $11.95 per $1,000 of property. That means an owner of a $100 thousand dollar home would pay $59 dollars more than last year.
School board president Dave Vetrane believes that no one should put a price on quality education.
“You cannot say that you don’t want to pay taxes but want your kids to attend the best school, that’s just not going to happen,” said Vetrane.
Open enrollment has made it hard for the small school of Bangor to keep its student numbers up; they are down 15 students from last year.
“My son went to Bangor and my grandkids go to West Salem now,” said John Hammes from Bangor.
If the number of students at Bangor had stayed the same the school would still be strapped for cash. The state is giving the district less money than it has in previous years said Bangor Superintendent Dave Laehn.
“This year we will approximately get 3.9 million in state aide,” said Laehn.
The taxpayers of Bangor will be seeing the tax increase starting November, but this may not be the end to extra school taxes this year. The 3 year referendum passed by the school in 2010 is coming to an end, and discussion of a new referendum has already begun.
The school board will be discussing the new referendum at their meeting October 17th; the public is encouraged to attend.
Superintendent Laehn does hope to increase enrollment by making Bangor a “destination school.” He hopes to market the school as a perfect place for new homeowners who want their children in a smaller setting that would be able to give more attention to each or their students. Laehn believes that increased enrollment could flatten out the tax levy’s.