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St. Michael-Albertville Schools See Dip in Local Tax Revenue

Declining property values mean less local tax dollars–to the tune of nearly 3 percent–will be coming into the school district's coffers, despite a newly approved operations levy last month. Still, the school approved a $39 million budget for 2011-2012.

No community members attended Monday evening’s annual truth in taxation public hearing for , but it’s not likely that many people will find reason to be upset when they see their 2012 local school property taxes.

The school board passed a levy that will lower its portion of the local tax rate 3.15 percent over last year, despite the increase in the new operating levy.

Local taxpayers will be paying $511,368 for the voter-approved referendum in 2012, but declining property values play a big role in negating this additional tax. Because the market value of district property declined by 4 percent from the previous year, the state will kick in more and local taxpayers will be paying $725,000 less in next year. After all funds are accounted for, the levy will be $377,294 less than last year.

For the total numbers, the general levy (tax dollars collected from the state) will be about $39.8 million, up slightly from 2010-2011 (less than $100,00 in fact).

The dip will come in the community service fund, which is the local tax collection. That was at about $4.4 million in the 2010-2011 budget. Revenues will drop by the approximated $377,294 here.

 “Each year the payment is equalized in relation to the ratio of the amount of debt to the tax capacity of the school district,” Behle explained. “In other words, state aid pays a portion of the debt based upon the district’s capacity to finance the debt. The state will pay approximately 40 percent of the debt compared to 32 percent last year.”

Though property owners will see a reduction in the school portion of their taxes, Behle cautioned that this doesn’t necessarily mean their overall taxes will be dropping, since city and county taxes make up part of the equation as well. Additionally, he said many will likely see an increase due to state legislation which eliminated the, which used to reduce the taxable value of qualifying homesteads. Exemptions can apply, he said for those making under a certain income.

For the current school year, the school district is receiving nearly 89 percent of it’s funding from the state, 8.1 percent from property tax levies and only 1.5 percent from the federal government. Over 73 percent of this funding goes into classroom instruction, and nearly 80 percent of the money goes to salary, wages and employee benefits.  Sites and buildings make up the next largest budget category, taking up 13 percent of the annual budget. District and school administration takes 4.2 percent of the current year’s budget.

These hard numbers will aid the school district as it works toward creating a budget for the 2012-2013 school year, which is currently underway and will be passed in June.

Mike Gindele December 10, 2011 at 02:35 PM
Look out in 2013.
Happy in St. Michael December 10, 2011 at 02:41 PM
Thanks, Mike. The percentages seem off as you say 80% goes to salary, et al. and 73% goes into classroom instruction, plus the other items. Can you please clarify? Thanks.
Meghan Gutzwiller December 11, 2011 at 02:51 PM
I got these numbers from the Truth in Taxation power point, which the district has online at www.stma.k12.mn.us. Click on School News, then Truth in Taxation at the bottom of the list. You will have access to the full powerpoint. Slides 27 and 28 are where I found the numbers: 73.3 percent of the budget goes into direct classroom use when you add regular, vocational and special education plus instructional support. On the next slide it breaks down spending into object categories and shows 59.8 percent going into salary and wages and 20.3 going to employee benefits. This is a higher percentage than what goes into the classroom because of the salary/wages/benefits paid to those staff who don't directly involve the classroom: custodial staff, administration, etc. Hope this helps!

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