Archived Story

School board to meet Monday to OK 2.7 percent increase

Published 1:00pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Albert Lea school board will vote on a tax increase at its board meeting Monday.

At a truth-in-taxation hearing on Dec. 3 the district’s Director of Finance and Operations Lori Volz presented the proposed tax levy increase of 2.7 percent, or a little over $225,000.

The first proposed increase was 5.7 percent, but the district was able to refinance some bonds that saved the district more than $1 million in interest costs. The final proposed 2.7 percent increase means about a $4-per-year increase on a residential home worth $100,000.

Lori Volz

“We’re very pleased that the numbers came in this favorable,” Volz said. “It really helped that we were able to do that refinancing.”

There are two main reasons for the levy increase. One is under the general operating expenses category and covers a small increase in enrollment and an inflationary increase in the allowance per pupil.

The second increase is for asbestos abatement related to the district’s three-year heating and ventilation project that allows for upgrades to six of the seven school buildings.

 

Update on borrowing

In the 2011-12 school year the Albert Lea district had to borrow about $6 million for its cash flow when the state Legislature approved a shift in its funding. Recently the school board approved borrowing $5 million for the 2012-13 year for the same reason. Volz said luckily the district heard from the Minnesota Department of Education that the state funding would be back on track, and the school will not have to borrow that $5 million for its cash flow.

“This is tremendous news,” Volz said. “Now we’ll have a healthy fund balance.”

She expects the board will cancel its approval to borrow the funds at its next meeting.