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NLS approves maximum levy; numbers show 5.8% decrease

NEW LONDON — The New London-Spicer School Board on Monday approved certification of the maximum 2013 levy payable in 2014.

The preliminary tax levy will be finalized in December. As is the usual practice, Donna Wilson of School Management Services, the district’s business management provider, recommended that the board approve the maximum levy instead of a specific number to allow district officials flexibility.

The preliminary numbers show a 5.81 percent decrease in the overall levy amount. However, those numbers will likely change, as state education officials and the district work out the details, including changes to state funding levels and enrollment numbers.

The preliminary levy information, for the local property taxes collected in support of the district’s schools, shows an estimated total of $3,951,393, which is $243,673 less than the 2012 payable 2013 levy of $4,195,066.

The decrease is largely due to lower property values in the district, Wilson said. The lower values are also having an impact on the collection of the $1.5 million technology levy passed by district voters in November 2011. The district collected $500,000 in the first year of the levy assessment, but will only receive $478,892 and $469,368 in the second and third years of the levy because of the lower values.

During the planning session after the regular board meeting, Wilson and the board reviewed the revenue and expenditure summary information that the board receive on a monthly basis. The reports should help the board reach one of the goals of establishing a long-range plan for the district business office and financial planning to assure fiduciary responsibility. Board member David Kilpatrick asked that the business managers and the administration help the board understand the financial impacts of program decisions.

“Our job is to look at the big picture,” he said. “Part of that big picture is the financial picture.”

The board also received preliminary information on the proposed 2013-14 budget, including general fund revenues of $13.45 million and expenditures of $13.35 million, as part of an overall budget with $18.25 million in revenues and $17.79 in expenditures.

The financial goal was one of four goals set by the board during summer planning sessions. The other goals are improving math scores, enhancing communications with parents, students and the community and providing students with awareness of college and career readiness decisions.

The board expects to set the final levy amount at the Dec. 9 regular meeting. The approval passed on a 4-0 vote, with board members Dan DeGeest, Holli Cogelow Ruter and Helena Lungstrom absent from the meeting.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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