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USC board ups the levy

By Staff | Dec 27, 2010

The United South Central School Board certified the 2010 levy, which is payable in 2011, at its last meeting of the year on Tuesday.

The total levy of $1.486 million is an increase of 11.24 percent over the 2009 amount of $1.336 million.

“The bulk of the increase is because of the referendum. I don’t like the idea of having to raise taxes, but I feel good our residents saw we were going to need the extra revenue,” says Superintendent Jerry Jensen.

Before district voters approved an operating levy referendum in November, the maximum limitation was estimated at $1.311 million.

A summary of levy/state aid information was handed out during the Truth and Taxation hearing portion of the meeting.

Increasing the operating levy of $1,000 per pupil by $200 is expected to raise about $185,000 more a year for this district.

For the 2010-11 school year the old operating levy will generate $1.035 million.

Of that amount, 40 percent will come from the state.

Data from the Minnesota Department of Education shows the state’s aid contribution will be decreasing.

Of the $1.192 million expected from the new operating levy, about 33 percent will by paid by the state.

The district next year also will see a big loss in state aid due to a drop in student enrollment.

USC officials are anticipating the district will lose about $286,000.

Jensen says losing student aid meant passage of the referendum in November was crucial.

“That’s the message we were trying to get out to voters and I’m glad that they understood that,” he says.

“The trend seems to be less and less state aid and putting the burden back on local taxpayers.”

The revised budget for 2010-11 shows revenues of $9.35 million and expenses of $9.47 million.

Jensen says a better picture of the district’s financial condition is the general fund, which has an overall surplus of $59,989.

In other business, the board also approved spending $24,790 to purchase new uniforms for some 80 members of the high school marching band.