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LP school operating levy proposal clarified
Aug. 31, 2015

Ivan Raconteur
Editor

LESTER PRAIRIE, MN – Lester Prairie School Board has recently discussed two items regarding school funding.

Operating levy

The board approved a two-question referendum that will be on the ballot during a special election Nov. 3. The election will take place at the school from 10 to 8 p.m.

The first question will ask voters to renew the existing referendum revenue authorization of $493.36 per pupil for nine years. This authorization is currently scheduled to expire after taxes payable in 2016.

Voting yes on this question will extend an existing property tax referendum that is set to expire.

The second question will ask voters to increase the district’s general education revenue by $375 per pupil.

The proposed referendum revenue authorization would first be levied in 2015 for taxes payable in 2016, and would be applicable for 10 years.

Revenue from both of these ballot questions could be used for general operating costs, such as salaries, curriculum, maintenance, programs, technology improvements and books.

Long-term facilities maintenance revenue

This funding source combines funding sources previously known as health and safety and deferred maintenance, according to Superintendent Jeremy Schmidt.

Unlike the operating levies, which are funded by local property taxes, the long-term facilities maintenance revenue comes from the state (state taxes, as opposed to local taxes).

Schmidt said the board looked at the district’s needs over the next 10 years for repairs and building improvements.

The board identified a number of projects, including replacing leaky windows, improving security, and repairing sections of the roof that have not already been repaired.

Schmidt said recent legislative changes will benefit the district because older buildings will receive more funding.

Because of the age of its building, Lester Prairie School District will receive an increasing amount of state long-term facilities maintenance revenue, from about $86,000 in fiscal year 2017 to about $170,000 in fiscal year 2019.

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