ISD 623 approves tax levy

At the Dec. 16 school board meeting, the Roseville Area School District certified a total tax levy of $25,830,305.01, which represents an 8.623 percent increase, or about $2 million, from last year, according to director of business services Shari Thompson.

Officials were quick to point out that only about 3.4 percent of that increase is due to the district's levy; the rest represents higher home values.

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, Thompson told the Review in the fall.

Had the board opted to certify the maximum levy, the change would have represented a 25 percent increase from last year.

The district estimates that the owner of a $216,500 median-value single-family home in Roseville will pay about $901.73 in school taxes next year, representing a 14.4 overall increase from last year.

However, Thompson added, about 11 percent of that is due to the increased home valuation as determined by the Ramsey County Assessor, leaving just over a 3 percent increase in the school's portion of property taxes.

The way levy amounts are calculated has changed since last year, Thompson explained. 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 this year with the acquisition of Harambee Elementary School. Next year, Thompson said, the increase should level off.

One resident spoke at a Truth in Taxation hearing held just before the board meeting, mentioning he had heard that the fact the 8.623 percent levy increase features the district's number, "623," is viewed by some as "giving the community the finger."

Thompson said that was a random circumstance.

—Johanna Holub


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