Tax levy questions answered during CSPS public meeting
By Annette Tait
The opportunity to ask questions about Center-Stanton Public Schools intended request for additional tax dollars and have them answered only drew a small crowd to the public meeting last Thursday evening. Fewer than a dozen people attended, with only a few making inquiries of the school board.
The meeting began with an overview by CSPS Superintendent Curt Pierce, who explained that the 2011 legislative session mandated districts advertise any increase in dollars not to be used for new construction, and that the 2013 legislature had added the requirement to notify all taxpayers by letter. He presented background information taken from the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction website providing annual history of the district’s tax revenue, pointed out when consolidation of the Center and Stanton districts had taken place, and explained that the figures provided in a given year indicated the funding needed for the following year.
The mills for CSPS reached at high of 185 in 2007, prior to the mill levy reduction act that limited the maximum mills levied to 110. Further legislative action in 2013 dropped the maximum to 60 mills.
“[The 2013 legislature] dropped the mill levy to 60 mills, did away with the reduction act, and increased student aid,” Pierce said. “Since then, CSPS has dropped its mill levy to 53.93. This is the first year the district is requesting an increase since 2007, where mills and dollars are concerned.”
As a school, the district requests dollars, and the county converts the dollar figure to mills. The $48,000 increase listed for 2016 is an estimate, and is based on expectation that taxable values will increase 4-5 percent.
“If the taxable valuation goes higher than that, the school is still asking for the same total dollar amount, but the number of mills would actually drop,” Pierce explained.
Pierce also noted that the district no longer has a technology levy, as such levies are no longer allowed by the state. Districts now include funds needed for technology in their general budgets. Capital projects levies – such as for construction – are limited to 10 mills.