Posted on

Edgar board sets 2020 tax levy

Average home tax will rise by a modest $13 next year

The Edgar Board of Education last week Wednesday approved a $2,553,296 school tax levy, a half percent increase over last year.

In approving the levy, the school board dropped Edgar’s school tax rate by 13 cents to $10.81 per thousand dollars of fair market property for the 2019-20 budget year.

This past year, the owner of an average $245,441 home in the Edgar School District paid $2,685 in school tax this current year. Next year, the same house, which will be worth an extra $4,172, will pay $13 more in school taxes under the lower mil rate.

Overall, district school property taxes will increase from $2,540,025 to $2,553,296, a difference of $13,271.

District bookkeeper Morgan Mueller said the district will pay $134,210 for voucher student tuition at St. John’s Catholic School, Edgar, this year. Last year, the school’s voucher payment was only $8,400. The number of voucher students increased from one to 16.6, Mueller said.

She said school taxes in the district would have declined if the district did not have to make that larger payment.

Mueller said the district’s three-year enrollment average fell from 577 to 567, a 10 student difference. The drop, she said, shrank state general aid.

Mueller said staff balanced the school budget by cutting two elementary teachers and sharply reducing the school’s maintenance budget.

In other school board business:

_ District accountability specialist Sarah Baltus reported on Edgar standardized test results. She said Edgar students taking the Forward Exam in grades three, four, six, seven and 10 were more proficient or advanced than the state average in English and math. Grade five scored below state average in math, as did grade eight in English, math and social studies.

In a comparison across Marawood Conference schools, Baltus said Edgar ranked first in grade four science and social studies as well as grade 10 social studies. Otherwise, Edgar trailed other schools. They included Abbotsford, Athens, Auburndale, Marathon, Prentice, Rib Lake, Stratford and Spencer.

Baltus said Edgar High School students scored a composite 19.5 on the ACT compared to a state average of 20.3. Like the state, the school has seen ACT scores decline for five years straight. In 2015, the state tested 46,738 students; that number increased to 66,729 by 2019. Edgar tested 44 students in 2015. In 2019, the school tested 48 students.

Baltus said that students will be offered more preparation before taking the ACT.

_ District administrator Dr. Cari Guden said Edgar Public School’s third Friday enrollment count was 602. She said the district enjoyed 10 more Open Enrollment students into the district than last year.

_ Board members approved hiring two boys basketball coaches: Dalton Lehman, sixth grade, and Keith Baumgartner, seventh grade.