The St. Clair R-XIII School Board will keep its tax rate the same for 2018-19, but the district will lose funds in doing so.
At Thursday’s school board meeting, Superintendent Kyle Kruse said the total assessed valuation for the district is $146,794,386.
Based on minimal growth from the assessed valuation compared to the consumer price index (CPI), the district could increase the tax rate to $3.2887 and levy .666 cents in debt service.
The district could increase the tax rate to collect the same amount of money as it did last year, but due to inflation, Kruse recommended keeping the tax rate the same at $3.20 and the debt service at 62 cents.
“It will be a voluntary rollback of 8 cents for operations and a voluntary rollback of 4 cents for debt service,” Kruse said.
Each year, taxing districts are allowed to gain the same amount of revenue from existing property as the year before plus the cost of inflation, or 2 percent, based on the consumer price index, according to Kruse.
“The district, to get that funding, could levy the tax rate for operations at 3.2887, however the district is fiscally stable,” Kruse said. “I think it’s an appropriate gesture to hold our tax rate at the level of $3.20.”
By keeping the tax rate the same, the district will collect $117,000 less than it could, he said.
This fiscal year will be a deficit spend for the district due to one-time capital projects and the one-time faculty longevity stipend.
“In 2019-20, those one-time expenditures will be off the books and not repeated, and so our balances should come back up,” Kruse said. “There should be a growth in state funding if the trend from the last two years continue.”
The superintendent said if the economy stays strong, the district’s assessed valuation could increase.
“It’ll look a little up and down if you chart it, but if you look at the long term curve, it is a gentle slow upward as you look from year to year,” Kruse said.
Board President David Berkel said the district is headed in the right direction.
“I know we have few hiccups, but we’re going to be fine,” Berkel said.
Kruse added that the district is doing a lot of positive things.
“I think the long-term outlook is responsible and appropriate,” he said.
In July, the board approved a $24 million operating budget for the 2018-19 school year. The budget is almost balanced as revenues and expenditures both equal about $24 million.
The budget indicates a deficit spending in the operations budget of about $40,000 and about $40,000 in the capital project fund.
The board unanimously approved to set the tax rate at $3.20 for the 2018-19 year.