School District of Tomahawk taxpayers would see levy decrease under approved preliminary budget
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
TOMAHAWK – School District of Tomahawk taxpayers would see a levy decrease under a proposed spending plan approved by the district’s Board of Education this week.
The board gave the thumbs up to the district’s 2023-2024 preliminary budget during its meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 8.
Towards the end of the roughly 70-minute meeting, District Administrator Wendell Quesinberry walked the board through the budget, reiterating that it is preliminary. Figures from the state won’t be finalized until October.
Quesinberry said that under the proposed budget, the district would see a roughly 4.8% increase in expenditures from last school year, attributed to boosts in staff compensation and additional funds allocated to capital improvements.
The district’s tax levy request is projected to be roughly $566,000.00 less than it was for the 2022-2023 school year, dropping from approximately $14 million last year to about $13.5 million this year.
The roughly 4% lower levy request can be attributed to two main factors, Quesinberry explained, with the first being the state’s raising of the low revenue ceiling level to $11,000.00 per student.
Quesinberry also pointed to the district’s projected $700,000.00 in state aid as contributing to the lower levy request. The 78% boost in funding doesn’t represent spendable dollars for the district, but goes toward offsetting the tax levy.
The combination of these factors led to the district ultimately seeking to levy $1.2 million less than the maximum amount it is authorized for the 2023-2024 school year.
Although the district has the option to levy the additional $1.2 million it is allowed, the district is instead “choosing to hold true to our promises, hold true to our community and the commitments that we made to tighten our belt and to make sure that we are doing everything that we can to ensure the taxes stay at a reasonable level,” Quesinberry stated.
Quesinberry said he believed the preliminary budget could represent the first time the district has under-levied and has “been in a position to under-levy.”
The proposed spending plan also offers the opportunity for the district to make “meaningful investments” while providing a decrease in the levy, he added.
“We’re in a really good place financially right now, and that’s reflected in this budget,” Quesinberry stated.
The board will take up the 2023-2024 district budget again during its annual meeting in September.