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Jackson County schools to make levy decision Nov. 8

JACKSON -- In a unanimous vote during its Monday night meeting, the Jackson County Central School Board voted to place two questions on the Nov. 8 ballot seeking an extension and increase of the district's levy.

JACKSON -- In a unanimous vote during its Monday night meeting, the Jackson County Central School Board voted to place two questions on the Nov. 8 ballot seeking an extension and increase of the district’s levy.

The 10-year levy approved by voters in the district in 2007 ends Jan. 1, 2018. The board had been indecisive about continuing with the levy, so a task force was created to gather community input. Its recommendation was to renew the levy, and the board consequently approved its motion Monday.

Residents in the district will have to make two district-related decisions during the general election. First, they will decide if they want to renew the levy. The renewal rate would be $284 per student, which would amount to no tax increase.

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The second question will ask voters to increase the levy by $175 per student, which would result in a tax increase.

Todd Meyer, JCC superintendent, said if the $175 increase is implemented, the school district will get 30 percent more in state aid. The increase would amount to an additional tax of $34 per year on a home valued at $100,000.

Meyer said he hopes the community will vote in favor of these two motions in the upcoming election. The board has examined the inflation rate versus money received from the State of Minnesota over the last 18 years and has determined the state aid does not balance out due to inflation.

“We found out that the inflation rate on average each year over the last 18 years has been 2.1

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percent, and then we looked what increases we are getting from the state toward our general fund and that number is 1.4 percent,” Meyer said.

He said there has been a 3 percent increase in state aid in some years, but that those have been followed by several years of 1 percent or even 0 percent increases.

According to Meyer, the school district currently has about $2 million in its reserves, and he wants to keep it that way. However, if the levy is not approved, according to projections made by the board, that balance could be eliminated in six years.

“A deficit in year one is also again a deficit in year two, only it is twice what it was in year one, and then it is three times in year three,” Meyer said. “So it doesn't take you very long to use up that $2 million in the fund balance.”

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He said the district has made numerous improvements through the years thanks to revenue from the levy, including expansion of the art, music and agriculture departments and the addition of college classes offered to students.

“We want to make sure that we continue doing a lot of good things,” Meyer said. “They (the community) want us to keep doing those things, so in order to do that we have to continue the levy -- and to keep us above statutory operating debt, we are hoping that the public will agree to that $175 increase.”

Meyer said the board will host public meetings to explain the ballot questions.


“Wherever there is a group of people that wants more information, we will go and tell them what we are doing,” he said.

Related Topics: EDUCATION
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