KUSD: Lower Taxes, More Pain

Sept. 20, 2023 11:20a

(WGTD0---No surprises at Tuesday night's annual meeting of Kenosha Unified.

The levy for next year as proposed—along with school board salaries—easily passed.

Although thousands of eligible voters could conceivably have shown up at Indian Trail to participate, the school’s auditorium was about a-quarter full.

Two years ago, a group of like-minded conservatives attended to vote down the tax levy and school board salaries. The actions were undone at a special meeting of electors held a few days later.

Next year’s tax levy stands at about $81 million. That’s the maximum allowed by state law.

Because the state’s funding formula is tied to enrollment, property taxes for school purposes on a home assessed at $200,000 are expected to drop by $159. Working against that figure is any increase in an individual homeowner's property assessment.

In recent months, the school board took about a dozen steps to lower expenses and stay within state mandates. They included eliminating district health insurance savings account contributions to employees and capping the base salary and wage increase at 4%, below the rate of inflation. 

District finance chief Tarik Hamdan noted that school districts across the state received far less in aid from the surplus-rich state than anticipated. 

Two speakers, including the president of the Kenosha Education Association, called for a referendum next spring on whether the district should be allowed to exceed levy limits.

As a cost-savings measure, the school board later this year is expected to close several schools.