By Susan Miller
Missourian Staff Writer
The Washington School Board discussed options on setting its tax rate levy for the 2013-14 year at a special work session Tuesday morning.
District CFO Shelley Kinder presented various options on transferring pennies from the Capital Projects Fund to the Operations Fund, and the implications if that action is taken.
After discussing different scenarios, Kinder said the board is leaning against transfering any additional pennies from the Capital Projects Fund into Operations due to the uncertainty with state funding and so the district can implement a pilot technology program at the high school.
Kinder noted the district has been hit with an unexpected 6 percent, or about $33 million, drop in assessed valuation in Franklin County. This equates to a loss of about $1.2 million to the district.
The district also could lose upward of $800,000-plus in state funding if House Bill 253 is passed over the governor’s veto in September.
Kinder said the board is proposing to set the levy at $3.9367 per $100 assessed valuation, which is 11 cents higher than the current levy of $3.8260.
The board will officially set the tax levy at its regular monthly meeting Wednesday, Aug. 28. A public hearing on the tax levy will be held at 7 p.m.
Kinder said due to the drop in assessed values, most property owners should not see an increase in their property taxes despite the higher levy.
Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer said even with this proposed change in the operating levy, the district will need to take precautions and potentially shrink its footprint in the future.
“We have more expenses than most districts our size and this is something we continually have to manage,” VanLeer told The Missourian. “It will require creativity and will likely not be an easy pill to swallow.”
The proposed breakdown for the 2013-14 rate is as follows:
Incidental Fund — $3.2150.
Debt Service Fund — $0.3317.
Capital Projects Fund — $0.3900.
The tax rates are set to produce the revenues which the budget for fiscal year beginning July 1, 2013, shows to be required from property taxes.
Each rate is determined by dividing the amount of revenue needed by current assessed valuation. The result is multiplied by 100 so the tax rate is expressed in cents per $100 assessed valuation.
School districts are required to set their levy on or before Sept. 1 following the state auditor’s approval of the Board of Equalization valuations received by the district in August of each year.