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School taxes to go down, revenues up

District 206 school board members voted Monday night to decrease taxes for some area residents while increasing revenue for the school district.

Yes, you heard right - school revenue will increase, but taxes may actually drop for some.

"With a referendum increase, you'd usually think that taxes will also increase, but that's not the case here," noted Trevor Peterson, director of business services with District 206, at Monday's regular school board meeting.

The board passed a resolution to authorize a new board-approved referendum authority for approximately $85 per adjusted pupil unit.

The new local levy authority is part of new school finance laws passed in the 2013 Legislature that combines local levy revenue with "location equity" funding.

The current levy, approved by voters in 2004, collects $390 per pupil each year. With the new legislation comes a new formula that will increase the per pupil amount to $427, but the referendum revenue received will remain the same.

The school district is also eligible to receive an additional $212 per pupil unit in location equity revenue, a funding mechanism benefitting non-metro school districts with enrollment greater than 2,000 students.

Without approving the additional $85, the school district would not receive the full allocation.

"It's a win-win situation," said Superintendent Rick Lahn, who explained that for residents with homes with market values that did not increase, property taxes may actually decrease.

By exercising the option to authorize the new referendum authority, local levy dollars will be replaced with state aid beginning with taxes payable in 2014.

Tara Bitzan

Tara Bitzan is editor of the Echo Press. She joined the company in 1991 as a news reporter. A lifelong resident of Douglas County, Tara graduated from Brandon High School and earned a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications and English with a minor in Scandinavian Studies from Moorhead State University. She and her husband, Dennis, and their children live near Alexandria.

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