RIVER FALLS -- Property owners in the School District of River Falls will see their mill rate for school district purposes modestly increase by a nickel per $1,000. In comparing to last year. The board-approved mill rate went from $8.99 per $1,000 up to $9.04 per $1,000, district officials said in a news release.

That remains well below the state average and is historically lower than all of their neighboring districts. The total levy amount is $20,274,257.

Last Tuesday, all Wisconsin schools were provided notice of state financial aid dollars, which then allows local districts to determine the amount of remaining property tax levy needed to provide operational revenue. Total state aid for River Falls is $17,500,000.

Wisconsin schools must operate within a state-prescribed maximum budget limit (revenue cap limit). Once that spending “cap” is determined, the state looks at districtwide property value vs. total enrollment to determine how much aid to provide . Once the state reveals the aid amount, the levy can be set at the local level.

In summary, here’s how it works: budget limit - state aid = tax levy

Overall property values in River Falls rose by 5.25% -- approximately $112,000,000 -- which is good news for the district, officials note, as overall property value increases defray individual taxes, essentially due to more people paying a share of overall taxes.

On Sept. 23 the district held its annual meeting at which the entire 2019-2020 budget was presented to the public, including preliminary estimates for state aid and the local levy.