Willmar School Board certifies 2007 tax levy at $5.65 million
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board has certified its 2007 property tax levy. The board approved a $5.65 million levy which represents an increase of 9.32 percent over last year's levy. The levy will be paid on next year's property tax bills, and...
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board has certified its 2007 property tax levy.
The board approved a $5.65 million levy which represents an increase of 9.32 percent over last year's levy. The levy will be paid on next year's property tax bills, and the money will be used to fund the district's fiscal year which begins on July 1, 2007.
Most of the district's funding -- in cases where property values remained the same -- the school portion of a property tax bill may have gone down slightly, said Bob Haines, director of business and finance for the district.
However, most property values in the area have gone up, by an estimated average of 10 percent, he said. That means property taxes for that land probably increased as well, but the rising property values indicate a healthy local economy, he added.
The levy for the general fund includes a variety of smaller, special purpose levies. They include levies for integration programs, operating capital, school security and health and safety. A new one is a deferred maintenance levy, allowing districts to raise money for major capital projects.
The district also levies money to make payments on the Senior High bonds and to pay for Community Education programs. The district has a local operating levy of $495 per pupil. The state pays a portion of that levy, but it pays a smaller portion as local property values increase.
The board approved a contract with the city of Willmar to place a third Willmar Police officer in the district's schools. The district will pay the city $20,000 for the rest of this school year and $40,000 for the following school year. The money comes from the district's Safe Schools levy.
The district already has two liaison officers working in the district. One is assigned to the Senior High. The other works at the Junior High and Roosevelt Elementary. The third officer will be assigned to the Area Learning Center and Jefferson, Kennedy and Lincoln elementary schools.
The liaison officers work with school administrators to provide a "safe and secure environment," said Superintendent Kathy Leedom.
When working with children at the younger elementary grades, the officer will mingle with students and talk with them about what police officers do. If there are disciplinary issues, an officer will be able to help deal with that, too, she said.
The officers teach Drug Abuse Resistance Education classes, too. Having a third officer will give the district more scheduling flexibility during those times, she said.
The board heard an update on the district's alternative programs' progress on the strategic plan. Many of the programs' goals have to do with improving reading skills. Alternative programs include the Area Learning Center, the Lakeview School at the Willmar Regional Treatment Center adolescent treatment unit, and Prairie Lakes School at the juvenile detention center.