Bulletin-area school districts asking for bump in property tax levies

School districts 282 and 621 have released their levy plans for 2015 and into the future, and both districts are looking for an increase in funding.

The St. Anthony-New Brighton Independent School District 282 will ask voters to increase the district's funding with two property tax levy ballot questions on Election Day Nov. 4, as the district renews its operating levy and requests a capital projects levy.

Mounds View Public Schools 621 has no levy renewals up for vote, and will increase its levy for 2015 in accordance with increases in enrollment; the budget will be finalized at its Dec. 9 school board meeting.

St. Anthony poses questions

Voters in St. Anthony and parts of New Brighton will be asked to answer two district referendum questions Nov. 4.

The first question regards renewing the district's operating levy and locking in $150,000 increases every three years until 2024. The district's current operating levy of $1.8 million expires this year.

The operating levy, according to materials prepared by the district, "provides funding for teaching and learning, general operations of schools and classrooms to maintain academic quality and competitive advantage."

Over the ten-year life of the proposed operating levy, the district would receive an additional $3.15 million dollars over its current funding level.

The current operating levy is good for $988 on a per-student basis. The new levy, if approved by voters, through incremental increases over its life would eventually be good for $1,230 per student beginning in 2021.

Question two

The second question regards authorization of a capital projects or curriculum and technology levy for the district in the amount of $450,000 per year in order to "purchase textbooks, replace computers, and improve infrastructure," according to the district.

The capital projects levy would be for 6.2 percent of the district's net tax capacity, the net amount of money that's possible to be raised via property taxes in the district. The district's net tax capacity is tied to home property values and fluctuates accordingly.

In total, the levy would raise about $4.5 million throughout the ten years, if authorized, and its impact would be $260 per student each year over that time.

The district's previous capital projects levy, which was approved in 2003, raised $3.1 million over seven years before expiring.

According to a district tax calculator regarding the questions, a district resident living in a home valued at $225,000, which currently pays about $415 per year in school-related property taxes, would expect to pay about $170 more per year if both questions were passed.

Following the first three years, with the built-in revenue increases, a homeowner would expect that school-related property tax bill to increase by about $40 every three years through 2024.

More students, more levy

Mounds View Public Schools is seeking a maximim of a 4.41 percent increase to its total levy, bringing it to about $43 million dollars, up just over $1.8 million from last year.

Mounds View Public School Director of Finance Carole Nielsen said higher student enrollment is responsible for the levy increase, as the district must meet per-student funding requirements. More students in the district also means it must lease additional instruction space, adding to the levy.

At Mounds View's Sept. 17 school board meeting, where the levy increase was approved, Nielsen said initial enrollment counts showed 10,518 students district-wide in so-called traditional schools, 162 more than projections made prior to the beginning of the school year.

The 2013-2014 school year had a hard count of 10,236 students in traditional schools as of the start of October; a similar count will be made this year, Oct. 1, after press time for this edition of the Bulletin.

The levy will be discussed at a forum prior to the district's planned Dec. 9 meeting, at which time the proposed levy can be modified and adopted.

Mike Munzenrider can be reached at mmunzenrider@lillienews.com or 651-748-7824. Follow him on Twitter @mmunzenrider.


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