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NLS School Board predicts levy increase for 2009

NEW LONDON -- The New London-Spicer School Board on Monday certified a preliminary 2009 levy of $3,270,214.

Business manager Barb Gjerde presented a 31-page report to the school board Monday depicting an $83,007 -- or 2.6 percent -- increase over the 2008 levy.

Gjerde said increasing market values for properties in the district's coverage area and decreasing district enrollment are the main factors behind the increase.

According to the district's levy limitation and certification report, the district's market value climbed from about $1.068 billion in 2006 to $1.206 billion in 2007. Meanwhile, the district's enrollment dropped by 42 students during the same period

Based on the public education finance formula for Minnesota, Gjerde said, the district's changes in these areas limit the amount of state aid available to it.

Due to the projected levy increase, NLS is now required by state law to schedule a Truth-in-Taxation hearing, Gjerde said. A final certification of the 2009 levy is also needed by the board in December, she said.

The proposed levy will go into effect in 2010 -- the last year of the district's $397-per-pupil operating levy.

In November, the district will seek an operating levy increase of $200. Gjerde said the district's pending levy referendum worth $597 per student wouldn't go into effect until 2011 if approved by district voters.

The district's pending levy referendum would be effective for seven years. According to previous reports, the proposed levy referendum would impose an additional $36 a year in taxes for the owner of a $400,000 home.

Gjerde said Monday the state average in operating levies increased to $856 per student, or $259 more than the district's proposed levy referendum for November. Gjerde also said state school districts could legally seek maximum levy referendums of $1,571.56 per student, according to state levy limitations.