11.9% Maximum Levy Set for Duluth Public Schools, But it's "Flexible"

By KBJR News 1

October 8, 2012 Updated Oct 8, 2012 at 9:46 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - The Duluth School Board set its maximum levy Monday, but it's a percentage, the administration calls flexible.

The maximum at 11.9 percent, is not necessarily the final levy number.

It's preliminary, and because it's a maximum, school board members cannot approve a final levy higher than 11.9 percent.

However, the district's director of business services said that number allows board members to tweak it if the financial future changes in the next couple months, which is possible.

If the final levy remains at 11.9 percent that would mean a $30 increase next year on a home valued at $100,000.

However, the board members could make changes, so the levy is only 4.6 percent, which would be a $10 increase.

To do so, board members could reduce the amount of debt service paid from the general fund by $1.9 million.

That could happen if the district sells off or enters into an agreement to sell some of its old properties in the next couple months.

"We have fairly consistent inquiries and discussions with several potential buyers and that continues to happen and so I think there's a reasonable amount of optimism at this point that we can do something to finalize a sale," said Bill Hanson, the district's business director.

Central High School, Rockridge and the Secondary Technical Center are a few examples of properties the district has been working to sell.

Selling old properties was a part of the original Red Plan to help pay for debt service, but the properties have not been selling as quickly as intended.

There's a little more than a two month gap to get buyers closer to a deal on these properties. The final levy will be voted on in mid-December.

Posted to Web by Jena Pike