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South Washington County Schools levy to increase slightly

South Washington County Schools' general levy will increase slightly next year.

The District 833 School Board earlier this month set the final levy for 2013 at $54.06 million, an increase of 1.2 percent -- or $634,775 -- over the 2012 levy.

The total district budget for the next school year is $220.7 million, but the state pays 82 percent of that total amount and sets taxing policies for school districts, according to Aaron Bushberger, district finance director.

State funding has not kept up with inflation, he said. If inflation is considered, the per-pupil unit revenue for 2013-14, without an increase from the Legislature, is $401 less than what was spent in 2004-05.

The district's portion of the local tax levy is determined by many factors, Bushberger told the board at the Dec. 6 workshop meeting and public hearing. No members of the public attended the hearing to speak against or in favor of the tax levy.

Next year's levy is also based on a 15.6 percent decrease in the taxable value of residential property from 2010 to 2013.

School taxes on a $150,000 home will go up $13, according to Bushberger's estimates and that of Ehlers, district financial consultants. Taxes on a $250,000 home will go up $30.

The levy increase is due to district expenses but not new staffing or added programs.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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