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ECASD 2021-22 budget includes property tax decrease

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 1:26 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The 2021-22 budget approved by the Eau Claire Area School District School Board Monday night will result in a property tax decrease for residents within the district.

District residents will pay $7.03 per $1,000 of equalized value, down 41 cents from 2020-21′s budget of $7.44, or about a 5.5% decrease. That means a property that had an equalized value of $250,000 would pay about $100 less in taxes under the new budget.

Other highlights of the budget adopted Monday night include increases in expenditures for staff salaries and benefits as well as contracted services such as transportation and substitute teachers totaling $2,537,434. Additionally, the district is budgeting nearly double 2020-21′s allowance for capital expenditures from $656,725 to $1,200,509, an increase of $543,784.

However, the operating expenses will actually be down in the ECASD this year. That’s because the budget for supplies is down by nearly $5 million, from $11.5 million in 2020-21 to over $6.7 million in 2021-22. The district’s operating expenses budget will decrease $2,116,532 to $172,710,162. Abby Johnson, Executive Director of Business Services for the ECASD, said that the pandemic and the return to in-person learning are responsible for some of the changes to this year’s budget.

“Last year’s budget was, you know, we were in a hybrid model for most of the year, and this year’s budget does plan on us being in school five days a week for the whole year,” Johnson said. “There were some differences related to that.”

The newly-approved budget also plans to utilize referendum spending differently in 2021-22, shifting nearly $1.3 million from salary to technology, security, and safety as part of the total $5.86 million referendum budget. The rest is being spent on debt payment.

Overall, the total tax levy increases $534,445 in the 2021-22 budget from a year ago, but because of the increase in equalized value, taxpayers will see an average decrease in property taxes.

The approved budget summary is available on the ECASD website.

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