By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN Delano School Board’s proposed tax levy for 2011 payable in 2012 shows a 5.4 percent, or $264,183, decrease from last year.
Superintendent Dr. John Sweet and Business Manager Mary Reeder discussed the levy with the school board at its meeting last Monday.
Sweet said a big reason for the decrease is that enrollment is slightly down, and he also said the tax base has been reduced. He said last year’s was a decrease of 9.7 percent from the year prior, and said over the last two years, a 15.5 percent decrease will be realized. Sweet also said the pay-off of some bonds has helped, and also the levies will be down in health and safety and operating capital.
“As a taxpayer, it’s good to see it’s going down,” Board Chairman Peter Brasket said.
The proposed tax levy payable 2012 is set at $4,623,264, down from $4,887,448 from the levy payable in 2011.
A hearing will take place Monday, Dec. 19 on the tax levy as part of the regular school board meeting. More details will be provided at that time, when the levy and budget will be discussed.
‘Why schools need voter-approved operating levies’
Delano Public Schools is part of a 61-district coalition called Schools for Equity in Education (SEE), and heard a presentation at its meeting from Deb Griffiths, the director of communications and community outreach of SEE.
Griffiths said SEE is primarily made up of districts across the state that typically receive the lowest in state aid. She said the organization’s primary focuses are working toward equal access to a high-quality education regardless of where they live, along with pushing for legislation that ensures equitable distribution of school resources.
She said holding elected officials accountable and creating an educated and engaged community are also priorities.
She reviewed the text from the state constitution regarding education funding, and also reviewed how the state funds education, the 2001 property tax reform, and how the funding formula is calculated.
Griffiths said some districts provide all-day kindergarten opportunities “to stay competitive,” though they do not receive full funding for this from the state.