ECASD recommended budget shows you will pay less in property taxes this year

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The calculators were clicking the first half of 2013 - helping map out this year's 2013-2014 budget for the Eau Claire Area School District.

"Usually the budget process is a continuous process year round," said Dan VandeWater, Exec. Dir. of Business Services for the district.

He broke down the budget with us on Tuesday.

Let's start by comparing this year's budget to last, seeing whether you will pay more or less in property taxes.

He says we can compare this year's levy, or the amount collected in property taxes, to last year's numbers.

"A small decrease, about $500,000 or 1%," he said.

That means you will pay about 17 cents less on $1,000 of property you own.

Got a house valued at $120,000? That 17 cents times 120 means you'll pay about $20 less this year.

"Sort of would be different for different property values," he added.

How about where your money goes? VandeWater says like any service-oriented organization, salaries and benefits take up a big part of the budget.

"About 78%, a little over 78% is in salary and benefits," he added.

Looking at how the money spent is related to instruction - a little more than half, about 58%, is spent on direct student instruction.

About 8% is spent on instruction support, such as psychological services or school libraries.

And about 1/3 is for non-instruction like grounds keeping and maintenance.

Finally, what is different about this year's budget compared to last year's?

"One of the more significant areas of reduction was in health insurance," VandeWater said. "Through plan design changes, the premiums built into this year's budget are less than what was in last year's budget."

He says staff was also more restrictive with their own costs on the things used in school every day.

"Supplies, materials, equipment, things like that," he added.

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