District looks at levy authorityThe Lake Superior School District Board is looking at opening up the rulebook on limited levy authority so it can increase a levy in case of state education cuts.
The Lake Superior School District Board is looking at opening up the rulebook on limited levy authority so it can increase a levy in case of state education cuts. Current law dictates that districts don’t have the authority unless there is a pressing health and safety issue in the district or it is for a specific need and approved by the state. Some have made improvements at schools, for better air quality, for example, under the narrow levy authority.
Superintendent Phil Minkkinen said allowing the district more leeway in raising levies would keep them ahead of the cost of living as state funding stagnates. “No one is predicting any increases in funding,” he said.
Board members plan to attend a Minnesota School Boards Association meeting Wednesday in Hibbing to discuss changing the law.
“School districts [need] to band together and present to legislators,” school board member Cyndi Ryder said.
A proposed property tax levy increase for the district failed in May as voters cast ballots at a 2-1 margin against all three questions.
One of the levy questions had asked for $425 per pupil unit, which means property taxes would go up $69.94 a year on a $100,000 home for 10 years. There was also an option for an increase $300 per pupil unit, which would increase property taxes by $49.37 on a $100,000 home for 10 years. A third levy option asked for $550 per pupil unit, which would mean about a $90 increase in annual property taxes per $100,000 for 10 years.
The district would like the authority to raise its levy by 3 percent.