Many school districts similar to Alexandra's had an increased tax levy from the previous year, but District 206 is taking less.
At the Monday, Dec. 21, school board meeting, the district held a Truth in Taxation public hearing explaining how much the district is levying and where it's going. Alexandria Public Schools is assessing $16,288,176 for the 2021-22 fiscal year. This is a 0.44% decrease from last year's resolution, which is on par with the preliminary budget approved in September.
The over $16 million being levied this year is split into four major categories. The general fund levy is $8,414,586 which is an increase of 3.09% from last year. The community service levy decreased by 29.72%, for a total of $565,927. The debt service levy decreased by 1.17%, while the other postemployment benefits debt service levy went down by 0.83%. Overall, the district levied a net total of $71,234 less than the previous year.
The Minnesota Department of Education computes the levy limitation for each school district based on current legislation and formulas. The school board can approve levy amounts up to but not exceeding the limits established by the state. The district is not allowed to levy more than the approved amount in September's preliminary budget.
Comparable school districts turned in far different reports. Bemidji, Moorhead and Cambridge-Isanti had increases of over 8%. Of the 13 other districts, Alexandria compares itself to, only three decreased its total levy.
Business director Trevor Peterson laid out examples of what Alexandria residents would have to pay. If a residential homeowner has a property market value of $250,000, their school district property taxes would be $946, which is $256 less than the state average. Commercial landowners are paying $891 less than the state average on a $500,000 property value with a $2,760 tax bill.
In other news:
Discovery Middle School will be separating its math and science classes at the fifth and sixth grade levels. There are currently six teachers for the combined math and science courses. Three will teach only math while the other three will teach science.
The board approved an amendment to the pay rate of substitute bus drivers. Any driver that puts in over 100 hours of service will be paid at a $17 per hour rate.