Trustees set levy amounts

At a special meeting on March 29, the trustees set the elementary and high school District General Fund Levies for the coming (2011-2012) School Year.

This year the Trustees requested an increase of $60,100 overBase dollars in the Elementary District which will be approximately 8.63 mills and $8,070 overBase dollars in the High School which would be approximately 1.11 mills.  This is the first increase in general fund mills that we have asked for in three years.

Last year’s adopted Elementary budget (2010-11) was $2,535,718. This year’s budget (2011-12) would be $2,550,170 or an increase budget wise of $14,452.

Last year’s (2010-11) adopted High School budget was $1,714,178.  This year’s (2011-12) coming budget would be $1,741,554 or an increase of $27,376.

A portion of state aid is based on the annual number belonging and as such we receive more or less dollars in state aid depending on whether your student population goes up or down.

The more state aid we receive reduces the amount of local tax dollars that must be raised. This is just one of the reasons that it takes more mills in the elementary to raise the budget $14,452 than it does to raise the budget $27,376 in the high school.

The amount of dollars and mills applied to raise this amount is an estimate.  Once the amount of state aid (legislature is deciding) and county taxable valuation (being determined) is known the trustees will set the exact amount.

By law they can only levy the amount of dollars needed so the numbers set are a maximum and the trustees will only levy what is needed.

These numbers are based on the best information available to date which means they are not accurate and are based on what people think the legislature may do.  If the legislature should pass some bills with monetary support for education above what is estimated it would reduce the dollars needed and the trustees would not levy the dollars at their final budget meeting in August.

Revenue estimates for oil and gas dollars for our school system are impossible to predict and the legislature may or may not allow us to keep some or none of the revenue and are not even sure where we may apply these dollars in our budget at this time.

The same can be said of interest earnings and other revenues. In addition the legislature raised or lowered the amount of funds we may or may not receive several times this session and then there is still the governor’s reaction to consider.

We just do not know. We chose to run the levy election on May 3 since by law we must run our trustee election on this date and it would cost us additional dollars to run two elections.

We are fortunate to have four candidates vying for two board positions.

Each term is for three years and the top two vote getters will be the successful candidates. The two positions are available because Carole Jones fulfilled Mark Gage’s term when he resigned and now she must run for that position; and Jan Carter has elected to resign after serving as a trustee since 1999.

The four candidates are Dr. Peter Barren, Craig Broesder, Brian Fladstol and Carole Jones.

Editor’s note:  This article was submitted by Superintendent of Schools Lynn Utterback. He may be reached at (406) 278-552.