Lower property values even out District 833 levy increaseLevy increasing slightly, total tax value of district up
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
The District 833 School Board, at the Dec. 3 meeting, approved a $53,805,194 levy for taxes payable next year.
The levy is $207,000 higher than this year, representing a .4 percent increase.
Most residents will see their school taxes go down, according to district Finance Director Aaron Bushberger.
Though the district expected enrollment would be flat this year, it increased by 117 students, increasing state revenue by $108,345.
The district gets 77 percent of its revenue from the state and 18 percent from local property taxes, which include state-allowed and voter-approved local levies. The remainder comes from the federal government, investment income and other local taxes, according to Bushberger.
About 82 percent of spending is classroom-related, he said.
In spite of an overall 5 percent decrease in property values in Washington County, the total tax value of the school district increased. That caused an increase in the district’s levy.
School district taxes are only part of the tax dollar.
The district’s debt service went down nearly $1 million.
According to estimates made by Ehlers and Associates, the district’s financial advisors, taxes are expected to decrease:
- From $725 to $706 for a $150,000 home.
- From $1,291 to $1,261 for a $250,000 home.
- From $1,858 to $1,815 for a $350,000 home.
- From $2,404 to $2,358 for a $450,000 home.
The formula for computing residential taxes is different for each home-value category, according the Minnesota Department of Revenue.
The district’s levy is different from past years because of a change in state funding for the Alternate Teacher Professional Pay System, also knows as “Q-Comp.” The funding trains teachers to review their peers in their classrooms, as the start of eventually achieving a merit-pay system instead of the current system of raises based on years of teaching.
Three years ago, the state said the district could receive a maximum of $260 per student to support the new pay concept.
In the first year, District 833 chose to use only the $190 per student in state money to pay for the program. They didn’t use an allowed local levy to get another $70 per student.
Rules changed in the second year that lowered the state’s commitment to $169 per student and allowed an additional levy of $91.
That year, the school board opted to continue the first-year program, with no changes, with money from reserve funds.
For this year, however, the district is continuing the program with no changes and levying the $577,822 difference locally.
There have also been several other changes that have shifted $185,000 from state funding to local taxpayers, Bushberger said.
All school districts in the state are required to hold Truth in Taxation hearings, but due to a change by the 2009 Legislature, a hearing can be held during a regularly scheduled meeting and not on a separate day.
The school board is expected to certify the final levy at the Dec. 17 meeting.