Board discusses changing levy options

Final dollar amount for renewal vote to be set next month

How much money per pupil will the Independent School District 834 Board ask voters to approve in an operating levy renewal referendum this fall?

It depends on what information district officials receive from the state Department of Education.

Further changes and information from the state education officials regarding levy options available to school districts have again changed slightly since three weeks ago. information on the options was presented to the school board , resulting in less of a tax impact for voters.

The four viable options presented to the school board include levy amounts that stand at $1,836.47 per pupil (option A), $1,536.77 per pupil (Option B), $2,237.69 per pupil (option C) and $1,937.69 per pupil (option D).

Most of the new levy amounts vary by at least $200 from options presented to the board in late June and are higher than the original $1,495 levy request the board opted for April.

The levy revenue request has not increased, remaining at $16.2 million for a revenue goal. That figure includes the $11.1 million the school district has been discussing the last few months to continue current programs and $5.2 million for security improvements and paying for the new Bridge to Excellence strategic plan.

The levy dollar amount increase is due to how pupil units are now calculated by an adjusted pupil rate. Previously, the number of pupil units encompassed all students in ISD 834 (10,836.17). Now, only students who specifically attend the Stillwater area public school district (9,680.35) are included in that count. Also, a $300 per pupil local school board option and a $424 per pupil metro location equity revenue levies, that can be opted in and out of depending on which option is chosen.

Tax impacts for each of the options for an average median-priced $250,000 home stand at:

  • $167.31 for Options A and B
  • $159.88 for options C and D

The tax impact amounts are at least $18 less than the April proposal. Most board members seemed to lean toward option B, but a variety of options were discussed at Thursday‘s learning session and no decision was made.

Discussion on the levy options will continue. A final decision on the levy dollar amount is expected to be made at the board’s Aug. 8 meeting.

The district’s financial advisor said he does not expect any new information to arise as the final date to file a referendum is fast-approaching.

LEVYTABLE

Also at the board meeting members:

  •  Heard Stillwater Area High School Activities Director Ricky Michel’s sports report for the past school year.
  •  Heard a presentation from Jay Fehrman who runs the auditory/oral program from District 916
  •   Approved the discipline policy
  •   Approved the alternative facility projects for 2014-2015
  • Approved the health and safety policy and budget for the district
  •  Approved the health and safety policy and budget for 916.
  • Met new staff and administration members Kristen Hoheisel, Melissa  Sonnek and Don Johnson.
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