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Proposed levy to jump 9 percent

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Up to a nine percent property tax levy increase may be enacted in the 2014 tax year for the Perham-Dent School District.

At a meeting last week, the school board set a preliminary tax levy of $3.07 million, up 9.17 percent from this year’s $2.8 million.

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The preliminary levy may be lowered, but cannot go up further, before being finalized in December.

The Minnesota Department of Education determines the maximum school levy amounts using data provided by the schools, according to Perham-Dent Superintendent Mitch Anderson. Individual boards can decide to levy up to the state-set amount or less, but cannot exceed it.

According to Anderson, a majority of the levy increase is tied into a new $300 per student operating levy, which was created by the state legislature and passed by the Perham-Dent School Board in August.

 This operating levy could add up to $367,406 in new funds next year. It is designed to provide funding to school districts in Minnesota that have no voter-approved operating referendum in place, which includes Perham-Dent.

Should the board decide to under-collect on the $300 per student portion, the final levy amount will be reduced, as well.

Another factor in the levy increase is a new “student achievement” component, which is essentially a replacement for the old general education levy. It was also created in 2013 by the state legislature.

The student achievement levy is expected to add $60,666 to Perham’s general fund levy for the 2014 tax year.

 “This is something which was available for all districts and decided by the state,” said Anderson in a telephone interview.

The public will be able to comment on the levy and ask questions about it at a Truth in Taxation hearing on Dec. 18.

Elizabeth Huwe

ehuwe@perhamfocus.com

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