Delano Schools certifies $4.9 million property tax levy for 2014

DHSwPeopleDelano School District property owners will get good news when they receive property tax notices this coming spring. Their 2014 property tax statements will be 12.59 percent lower for school taxes than the preliminary property tax statements sent last fall.

Finance Director Mary Reeder brought this news to the Delano School Board on Monday, Dec. 16, shortly before the board certified a final property tax levy of $4,909,350.04 for taxes payable in 2014. The preliminary tax levy was $5,616,804.16.

Reeder said the state of Minnesota did not have correct tax figures from Delano Public Schools before the deadline for certifying the preliminary tax levy. This meant that Delano Schools had to certify the maximum preliminary levy of $5.6 million. So the 2014 property tax levy for the Delano School District will decrease by 1.73 percent from the $4,995,715.87 property tax levy for 2013.

The 2014 levy has many parts, including two voter-approved levies per-student, community service, debt service and a number of smaller levies. The two voter-approved levies are $424 per student and $326.83 per student — amounting to a total of $750.83 per student.

The School Board again will not levy the $313.43 per student that voters authorized a number of years ago for operating a new school for grades four through six. Delano Schools has not constructed the new building. Instead a new parking lot sits on a portion of the site, located on Tiger Drive across from Delano Elementary School.

Delano’s levy of $750.83 per student is below the estimated state average of $1,062 per student. The state has capped the amount that school districts can levy at $1,845 per student.

The 2014 community service levy will amount to $151,534.94, a decrease of 12.67 percent from the $173,525.01 levy for 2013. This levy pays for community education, youth service, after-school programs, home visit, school-age child programs and early childhood and family education.

The 2014 debt service levy will be $1,982,987, down by $6,311 from the $1,989,298 debt service levy for 2013.

The $4.9 million property tax levy for 2014 will be used to defray $27,047,703 in expenditures. Because total 2014 revenues are budgeted at $26,097,399, Delano Schools will be in deficit spending, with the shortfall predicted at $950,304.

In 2013 Delano Public Schools had audited revenues of $25,660,433 and audited expenditures of $25,167,245, so the school district was $493,188 in the black.

Later in the School Board meeting, Superintendent of Schools Matt Schoen reported that the state of Minnesota would pay back tax shift dollars owed to Minnesota Schools. For Delano Schools this equates to $1 million. The school district was expecting to receive part of the money in December 2013 and the rest in June 2014.

Meanwhile, Delano’s population is growing, Schoen said. More than 70 building permits have been issued in the past two years, and this could lead to higher enrollment numbers. School district buildings still are operating over capacity. Moving to all-day kindergarten, as required by the state, will create more space problems at Delano Elementary School.

Contact Susan Van Cleaf at susan.vancleaf@ecm-inc.com

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