Q Comp causing levy rise
Instead of setting a specific number for the 2011-Payable 2012 levy, the Blue Earth Area School Board decided to set it at the maximum amount allowed by the state.
Then, they took several steps at a special meeting last Monday which will determine what that max amount will be.
Specifically, the board voted to wait one year before implementing the Q Comp (Quality Compensation, also known as Alternative Teacher Compensation) plan. But, they will work on implementing the plan for the 2012-13 school year throughout this current school year.
What does all that mean?
BEA school district residents will more than likely see a 4.86 percent hike in their school taxes next year.
However, that number could have been better – or it could have been worse – depending on which way the school board decided to go with the Alternative Teacher Compensation plan.
If BEA would not be considering Q Comp at all, residents would have seen a 2.98 percent drop in the tax levy.
However, the hike in local taxes could have been a lot higher. “The state allows us to double levy for Q Comp,” Superintendent Dale Brandsoy says. “The first budget from the state had both levies in it.”
The BEA district could have levied both $109,000 in one area, and $110,000 in another area.
In that case, the local levy would have increased by $178,063, or 12.67 percent.
The board opted to drop the one levy of $110,000 for this year, which dropped the overall school levy increase to 4.86 percent.
“We need to keep the one Alternative Teacher Compensation levy in place,” Brandsoy says. “When we levy the $109,000, the state is going to add $230,000 to our state aid,” he explains.
Because the school will be working on setting up Q Comp this school year to be implemented next school year, there will be costs involved, Brandsoy says.
“Plus,” he adds, “the next school year starts in September and we will need the funds at that time. So we need to levy for it now.”
The Minnesota State Department of Education recently approved BEA’s Q Comp plan.
Then, two weeks ago, the teachers approved the plan.
On Monday night, the BEA board approved the plan, but with the idea to start it next school year, since this year is already underway.
“To try and get it started by Oct. 1 would be rushing it,” school board member Vickie Hanson says. “We need time to get all the pieces in place for this.”
Other board members agreed and voted for the one school year delay.
As far as the 2012 school levy is concerned, the final amount will be certified in December, after the Truth In Taxation public hearing.