During the course of the next two years, discussion will be focused on ways of changing the way education is to be funded by the state. Legislative efforts will be placed on how to lower the burden on property taxpayers; offering direct tax relief and the property tax formula.
By Kelly Koppinger
Under the current education formula, the state covers about 75 percent of the cost of education in our district. The formula is based on providing adequate and equitable education funding for all school districts. As a result of the current formula, school districts are capped in how much they can levy locally. The formula was supposed to be sustainable and not a one-time fix. However, as you have probably heard, the state is having a little trouble lately trying to balance the budget with the current oil prices.
Taxing entities are required to provide more information to property owners whose property assessment increases. As a taxing entity, school districts are required to send notice to their school patrons if there is an increase in mills. The formula for determining this is a little more complicated than just a raise in the mills; however, based upon the formula our District had a zero increase in mills this year. The table below shows how much the school district has levied over the past six years and what we are intending to levy during the 2017-2018 school year.
As you can see, the total number of mills levied has decreased substantially since 2012 and slightly from last year. Taxable valuation has increased by 29 percent during the past six years. The estimated tax levied for New England School District, excluding new growth in all four counties, is projected to increase by approximately 3.8 percent from 2016-2017 to 2017-2018.
Since 2009, our enrollment has increased by 118 students, or 83 percent over the past eight years! In 2009, we had 118 students in K-12 enrolled and this fall we have 260 in K-12. If we include our pre-school enrollment we have 286 total students this year.
With this increase in student enrollment we have had to add additional bus routes and some additional services for our students. Some of those services include additional para-professionals to support our growing student population, a Title I look-alike program a Response To Intervention program, and twice the food. All of these services are needed to support our students in their quest for a quality education.
If you have questions regarding the proposed budget, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 701-579-4160.
Thanks for your continued commitment to our students.
Kelly Koppinger is the Superintendant of New England Public Schools.