May 16, 2013

School board reacts to legislative changes

School board reacts to legislative changes
By Jerry W. Kram
The impact of other layers of government were high on the agenda at the most recent Parshall School Board meeting.
Superintendent John Weidner reviewed some of the impact that recent budget legislation would have on the Parshall School District. He said the legislature literally waited until the last minute to pass an education budget for the state. HB 1013 passed on the 80th day of the session, the last day allowed by the North Dakota Constitution.
“That came about because they killed Bill 1319,which was the main education funding bill,” Weidner said. “Then all of a sudden the realized they had no vehicle for funding K-12 education in the state and had to scramble to put something together.”
The resulting bill was a compromise, Weidner said, that will limit school district’s ability to tax at 60 mills. School boards will be able to raise taxes an additional 10 mills and a few schools can levy a miscellaneous fund tax of 12 mills. Parshall does not have a miscellaneous fund so won’t be able to use that mechanism until 2014-15 at the earliest.
Weidner said one of his main concerns was a section of the law relating to property assessments. Current law says the district has to inform the public about increased assessments by publishing a notice in the local newspaper. The new law will require the school district to mail a letter to each property owner whose assessment increases by more than 10 percent.
“I asked what happens if someone comes in later and claims they never received their letter,” Weidner said. “I was told that if that’s a concern we could just send all the letters as certified mail. You know how much that would cost? We won’t be doing that.”

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