Good news for Rhinelander School District taxpayers
School district portion of property tax bill going down
By Eileen Persike
The Rhinelander School Board held the district’s annual meeting Monday night. There were no taxpayers in attendance, outside of staff and members of the media when the board approved the tax levy and set the 2019-20 budget.
In a tax levy comparison, Bob Thom, director of business services, pointed out that equalized property values in Rhinelander increased 3.42% which is less than the 5.7% statewide increase.
“When that happens, now we’re considered not to be as property rich as the rest of the state, so then we get more state aid,” Thom said. “That’s what drove the increase in state aid is our property values not going up as quickly as the state as a whole.”
The tax levy approved by the board is down 3.58% over last year, with a mill rate decrease of 6.76%. Thom said that means the school district portion of the tax bill for someone who owns a $100,000 home will be reduced by $71.
The budget approved includes revenue of $32,654,206 and expenditures of $40,756,917.
School District of Rhinelander tax levy 2019-20
Rhinelander: increase 3.42%
Statewide: increase 5.7%
Salary range set for next superintendent
The process is underway to hire the next superintendent of schools in Rhinelander. Monday night the school board set a salary range that will be used in the recruitment ad for Kelli Jacobi’s replacement. Jacobi announced last spring she will retire at the end of the current school year. Hiring consultant Bruce Miles has said he would like the board to have a candidate selected and a contract signed by Feb. 1, 2020.
The Employee Relations Committee met and recommended a salary range of $140,000-$155,000.
“It’s going to be, how much experience the person has, education, there’s a lot of things to consider. What we’re asking tonight, is that range something the board can live with. If it isn’t, we’re open to discussion about what the board could live with,” committee chair Duane Frey said.
Some members questioned whether the recommended range is too low, thus deterring some candidates. Jacobi’s current salary is just under $137,000. The highest salary for superintendents in the Great Northern Conference is Northland Pines, at $173,000. The lowest is Lakeland Union High School at $130,000. Board President Ron Counter said the latest numbers show the average hire at $150,000.
Counter motioned to set the range from $135,000 to $170,000. The higher end of the range will “pull some some real experience into the process. That doesn’t mean that’s what we’re going to pay,” said Mike Roberts.
“There’s over 300 employees, responsible for 2,400 kids on essentially daily basis,” Roberts added. “I think you could make an argument that someone’s not overpaid for those kinds of responsibilities, so that’s why I’m good with that range.” added.
David Holperin said that in the end, “We have the responsibility to get the best candidate at the best price.” The board voted 5-3 to approve Counter’s motion.