About 35 residents voted on the tax levy at the school district's annual budget meeting Thursday night.
The 4.47 percent increase is based on a conservative state aid estimate that will likely increase when state aid numbers are be certified on Oct. 15.
Last month the Department of Instruction estimated Whitefish Bay will receive $10.8 million from the state this year. But to avoid any surprises, Shawn Yde, the school district's business manager, said he budgeted about $300,000 less than the DPI estimate.
"If you assume that (DPI estimate) is the correct number, our levy would be just over 3 percent (increase) instead of 4.47, but we won't really know that until Oct. 15," he said. "Every year we make conservative projections because we don't want to come back and say, 'Oh by the way, taxes are going to go up from what we presented at the annual meeting.'"
Using the 4.47 percent levy increase number, the owner of a $400,000 home would pay about $4,476 in school taxes this year, a $273 increase compared to the $4,203 number on last year's tax bill. The assessed tax rate would increase from $10.51 per $1,000 of assessed value to $11.19 per $1,000 of assessed value.
If the DPI's state aid estimate is correct, the owner of a $400,000 home would pay about $4,403, which is a $200 increase from last year.
Past budget projections
In 2011, the board passed a 1.28 percent levy decrease that later turned into a 2.05 percent decrease when state aid numbers were certified.
In 2012, the board passed a 3.37 percent levy increase that later turned into a 0.2 percent levy decrease when state aid numbers were certified.
It seems unlikely that a 4.47 percent levy increase could swing the other way into a levy decrease, Yde said, which would mean the district would put forth its first tax increase in three years.
The school district added 2.2 full-time equivalent teaching positions this year to adjust for a projected enrollment increase of 42 students. Class sizes in Whitefish Bay schools range from 18 to 27 students per classroom, Yde said.