Dist. 877 increases per pupil referendum for 5 years

The Buffalo Dist. 877 School Board approved a resolution authorizing a board approved referendum authority. The board also set the truth-in-taxation hearing date and took action on other issues.



The 2013 Legislature has now authorized school boards the ability to convert up to $300 per adjusted pupil unit (APU) of voter approved referendum authority to board approved authority for fiscal 2015 and beyond. This authority can be applicable for up to five years and would begin with taxes payable in calendar 2014.

Under the new calculations, the district’s current referendum authority gets adjusted from $489.99 per pupil unit to $534.55 per adjusted pupil unit. This amount gets reduced by $424 per adjusted pupil unit for the new location equity revenue authority. The result leaves the current voter approved levy amount at approximately $110.55 per adjusted pupil unit for fiscal year 2015 and beyond. Since the law allows up to $300 per adjusted pupil unit, the board has authority to increase the operating referendum authority up to the $300 per APU or approximately $189.45 per APU.

The resolution the board approved will allow it to increase the school district operating referendum levy by an amount up to approximately $189.45 per APU for a five-year period beginning with fiscal year 2015. This authority would generate an additional revenue authority of approximately $1,158,000 (annually, each year for each of the five years). Of this amount, approximately 61% of each dollar would come in the form of state aid with the balance coming from local levy. The referendum authority for the payable 2013 year was paid with about 26% state aid and about 74% local levy. The state’s share on the new authorization is more than double the previous year’s state share.

The district’s initial tax impact calculations show a $1 annual increase for a $200,000 residential homestead property when comparing the payable 2013 taxes for operating referendum revenue to the proposed payable 2014 combined total of increased total referendum authority and location equity revenue. This increase assumes that the home value is the same each of the two years.

The use of the funds would be targeted to continuing to move towards the Board’s goals of reduced class sizes and continuing to meet the district’s ongoing needs for technology, curriculum, and buildings and grounds needs.

If the district were not to take advantage of this opportunity, the district would lose about $128,000 in equity revenue. The board approved the resolution.


Truth in Taxation

In other news,the levy process for the 2013 Payable 2014 levy cycle remains largely the same as it was for 2012 Payable 2013. The district will be required to adopt the proposed levy by Sept. 30, and will do so at the Sept. 23 board meeting.

The Truth in Taxation meeting will be held as part of a regular board meeting Dec. 9, and the final levy will be adopted at the same meeting.

There are a vast number of variables in the calculations that can be subject to change. This year’s levy is further complicated by all of the legislative changes that have taken place. The district has a couple of factors that are unique this year that will affect this levy. One, the board approved the discretionary levy authority for up to $300 of referendum authority after acceptance of the location equity revenue. In addition, the district over levied for the annual OPEB levy (also known as Pay As You Go) that will reduce the levy total.

The district will ask the board to approve the “maximum” levy in September, as has been the past practice. This allows the final levy corrections to be made by the Minnesota Department of Education that may not be done in time to approve the levy on September 23. The district hopes that those changes will be minimal if any at all.


In other action, the board:

HEARD an update regarding this fall’s school board election. There are three seats open on the board beginning next year. Each seat is a four-year term. The General Election will be Nov. 5. As of the Aug. 13 deadline, three candidates have filed and will run unopposed. Those candidates are: Ken Ogden (incumbent), Dean Perry (incumbent) and Jeffrey Trout.

-Compiled by Aaron Brom