ISD 623 certifies preliminary tax levy

At its Sept. 23 meeting, Roseville Area Schools board members certified a preliminary tax levy of $25,830,305.01, an increase of 8.623 percent from last year.

The board now has until the end of December to adjust the amount of the levy, but the final levy amount may not exceed that $25.8 million.

According to calculations based on enrollment data, the district had the authority to set a maximum levy of more than $29 million, a number district officials rejected in favor of a more "balanced" levy, according to director of businesss services Shari Thompson. Had the board opted to certify the maximum levy, the change would have represented a 25 percent increase from last year.

"We're trying to balance the needs of the students in the district with the needs of our taxpayers," Thompson explained. "A 25 percent increase in the levy wouldn't meet the needs of our taxpayers."

The way levy amounts are calculated has changed since last year, Thompson added. In the past, calculations were based on the number of students living within the bounds of the district, whether or not they attended a district school. Now, the numbers are more accurate, as calculations are based on the actual number of students served, whether or not they live within the district.

For ISD 623, that means the levy amount will increase not only due to the addition of those students who previously weren't counted, but also because the district added about 400 new students with the acquisition of Harambee Elementary School. Next year, Thompson said, the increase should level off.

The referendum passed by voters last fall accounted for $1,505 per pupil for the 2014-15 school year. With inflationary costs, that will increase to $1,525 per pupil for the 2015-16.

District officials stressed the fact that they did not want to place a heavy tax burden on residents.

"We're in the kid business, not the banking business," Superintendent John Thein said at the meeting. "When we go to our taxpayers down the road and we have to ask for support, we want them to know that we're going to be responsible, we know that we're going to treat them fair and we're not trying to get the most that we possibly can squeeze out at any one time."

The board will vote on the levy at a Truth in Taxation hearing at 6 p.m. Dec. 16 at the District Center.

--Johanna Holub


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