Building Fund Impact

Recently the board voted to put in the November 6th election a ballot about establishing a building fund.  That same vote would also authorize the school board to levy between 0 and 15 mills to support that building fund. So what does 15 mills mean? For the district it would mean approximately $146,000.  Some of you may be aware that we are anticipating dropping in enrollment by about 8 students.  This would result in a loss of $77,168 in state revenue, not counting special factors.  If that number were to climb to 10 it would be $96,460 lost in revenue.  The difference between the revenue loss from anticipated declining membership and the additional revenue a building fund levy could bring is approximately $68,800.  So a large part of pursuing a building levy is to compensate for a sharp drop in funding that is likely to take effect in the 2019-2020 school year.

We currently are anticipating spending roughly $400,000 on building repairs and payments on the new boiler system.  Just over half of this is going toward our boiler payment.  The roof on our north classrooms is slated to get some needed repairs this next summer, a project with a sticker price of just over $70,000.  The boiler payment and the roof repairs alone are nearly $280,000 in expenses.

A picture saying school repairs

School Repairs

This extra revenue could be put to use making repairs on the elementary foundation, replacing outdated unit ventilators, repairing and resealing our windows, and other upkeep items that come with an old building.  The building has aged well, and by making these repairs we can preserve our building for the future and avoid the need to build new down the road.  Before you know it, our original building will be celebrating its 100th year of existence.

You may wonder what those 15 mills will mean to you.  Your taxes are figured out on something called “true and full value.”  It’s a number you can find on your tax statement and it determines what value on which your property can be taxed.  This is not market value, nor what you could potentially sell your house for.  This is a number determined by the county that you can find on your tax statement.  So, if you have a house that has a true and full value of $100,000 and the district were to levy for 15 mills, it would cost you $67.50 for the year.  We are currently levying for tuition payments and if a building levy were to pass, the district would drop this levy, which is roughly $17.50 for the same true and full value.  So the total impact on your $100,000 property would be $50.  If your property is worth half of this true and full value, then you’d pay $25 for the year.

Tax Document

Tax Document

If you take a look at County Rent and Prices from 2018, some typical true and full values for an acre of land are $899 and $1,137.  At 15 mills this would mean $0.67 and $0.87 an acre.  Again, if you remove the current tuition levy that would reduce the impact to $0.50 and $0.62 respectively.  By the same token, if you subtract the revenue the district is getting from the tuition levy this year that additional revenue is only about $30,000 more than our current operating budget.

Simply put, if the district does not get additional revenue to make up for declining enrollment, cost savings will need to be pursued.  This would mean things like combining classrooms, eliminating programs, cutting extra-curricular activities, and staffing reductions.  We do not have many programs to cut and cutting the programs that give our students a chance to compete, get leadership opportunities, and work as a team would only result in those students going somewhere they can find those opportunities.  Failing to address our building maintenance needs could result in more costly repairs or even necessitate building new down the road.  Please cast your vote on November 6.

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