Tax reform allows AL schools to levy 55 percent less for 2002
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 18, 2001
The first concrete example of changes in the way the state will fund public schools was evident Monday when the school board certified a tax levy limit of $3.
Tuesday, September 18, 2001
The first concrete example of changes in the way the state will fund public schools was evident Monday when the school board certified a tax levy limit of $3.61 million – more than 55 percent lower than last year’s limit of $8 million.
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Finance Director Mark Stotts told the board that the state’s takeover of the general education portion of the property tax formula is responsible for the decrease. The result for taxpayers in the Albert Lea school district will be a much lower figure on the school portion of their property tax bill.
The decrease is just one part of the historic tax reform measures passed in the last legislative session, Stotts said.
&uot;This is not unique to Albert Lea schools. Every district in the state is seeing a significant drop in the school portion of the property tax bill,&uot; he said. Even if voters pass the excess levy referendum in November that would bolster the district’s budget with $1.7 million next year, the decrease in the school portion of the property-tax bill would still be about 45 percent, Stotts said.
&uot;That&uot;s why so many school districts are looking at excess levy referendums this year. This new way of funding schools has changed the whole picture,&uot; he said.
Though the state has assumed the general education fund, the debt service fund, the health and safety fund and the community service fund remain on the tax levy, Stotts said.
In other school board news:
— The board confirmed two informational meetings to help voters consider the excess levy referendum. The first is Monday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at Albert Lea High School. The second meeting is Oct. 22 at the same time and place.
Superintendent David Prescott said the district is giving more than 20 presentations to civic groups and service clubs and is also hoping to hold informational meetings for residents in Hollandale, Clarks Grove, Hayward and Twin Lakes.
The 10-year excess levy referendum would add about $1.7 million to the school district’s budget next year.
— Technology director Butch Harves said the district made several improvements over the summer including a new computer lab at Southwest Middle School, new features on the district’s Web page, new servers in each building and several new computers and projection units.
Harves said he is still researching affordable Internet filtering technology, which is mandated by federal law.
— Members of Albert Lea FFA presented the organization’s results from the Minnesota State Fair, including five grand champions and one reserve champion.
— The board began the meeting by observing a moment of silence for the victims of last week’s terrorist attacks on the nation.