All Door County Districts Below Average for State Aid

The Department of Instruction (DPI) released its estimated 2017-18 funding and all Door County school districts fall below the average for state aid. Schools on the peninsula have consistently received very little in state aid due to property taxes on high-value homes covering a majority of the school’s budgets.

The estimates are late to arrive after the state budget was stalled for more than two months. The delayed budget, which provides for $639 million in additional funding for K-12 schools, stressed some districts across the state who couldn’t make budgetary decisions without knowing exactly how much aid they would receive.

On average, school districts in the state received 63.58 percent of their 2016-17 budgets from the state, making up the rest primarily through local property taxes.

The Washington school district on Washington Island received the least amount of school aid out of the state’s 422 districts. The Washington district received $290,595 from the state to operate the district, none of which came from general state aid.

Southern Door, which has consistently struggled with referenda due to a cap on the amount districts can increase the levy, is ranked 354th in state aid totaling $4,440,310. The district will again go to a referendum to fund energy efficient projects at the school. Southern Door lost $192,804 in general state aid between last school year and the 2017-18 year due to new appropriations based on enrollment, property value and eligible expenditures.

The Gibraltar Area district is ranked 418th out of 422 districts in the percentage of its budget that comes from state support. High property values and relatively lower enrollment (570 students in the 2015-16 year) means the school can raise most of its revenue from property taxes without increasing the tax rate very much.

Sevastopol is ranked 409th when it comes to the amount of its budget that is paid for by state aid. Similar to Gibraltar, Sevastopol receives most of its revenue from property taxes on high-priced homes. The district received just $26,980 in general state aid this school year, and will see $22,914 in general state aid for the 2017-18 school year.

Relative to the rest of Door County school district, Sturgeon Bay receives the most state aid, or 47.31 percent of the district’s total budget. The district will see an increase of $300,709 in general aid in the 2017-18 school year over the previous year. Statewide, Sturgeon Bay ranks 317th for the percentage of the budget that comes from state aid.

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