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School levy decreasing

By Staff | Sep 15, 2008

School District No. 2860 taxpayers could see a drop in their school tax next year, if the levy stays as proposed.

Blue Earth Area school board members voted Monday night to set the proposed 2009 tax levy at the maximum amount allowed by law. Currently that amount is figured at $1.367 million, down .24 percent from this year.

School finance officer Alan Wilhelmi says the 24-page levy report just arrived from the State Department of Education last week. The document shows the maximum levy amounts which can be set.

“We try to give the state the latest budget and enrollment figures for their calculations,” Wilhelmi says. “But the numbers are constantly changing.”It was Wilhelmi who suggested wording the motion to set the levy at the maximum amount allowed, instead of listing a specific number.

“If you set a certain amount tonight, it can’t be raised later,” he says. “The number may change several times.”

Wilhelmi added that a Truth and Taxation hearing may not be necessary this year.

“If the proposed levy is less than a 6.2 percent increase the hearing becomes optional,” Wilhelmi says.

He told the board they could wait until the October to make the decision whether to have one or not.

The general and the debt service funds both had decreases which offset a large increase in the community education fund, Wilhelmi says.

Last year there was a $20,000 increase in the levy.

School enrollment

Superintendent Dale Brandsoy released a new version of the enrollment numbers for this school year.

Total enrollment for kindergarten through grade 12 stands at 1,219 as of Sept. 5, Brandsoy says.

Last year at this time it was at 1,236, and in 2006 it was 1,253.

Elementary numbers at the Blue Earth site are up dramatically, Brandsoy says. They were at 426, up from 402 a year ago.