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School won't seek levy hike

October 6, 2011
Kylie Saari - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

FAIRMONT - Fairmont Area Schools has proposed a zero percent property tax increase for the 2012-2013 school year.

The district, which has levy authority over just a few items on its budget, was able to stay within last year's levy numbers due, in part, to its new buildings. Board member Dan Brookens said the district often was raising the levy to take care of health and safety issues at William Budd Elementary School.

Business manager Sue Nelson said the state tells the district how much money it is allowed based on formulas, then tells it how much money it will give them. The rest is raised by the local property tax levy.

The only two items in the general fund for which the district can levy are health and safety projects, and severance.

"I am not aware of any public entity that has a zero percent tax increase," said Superintendent Joe Brown. "Even though we have tax authority, we are not taxing at the full levy."

The school district still is seeking voter approval of an excess levy referendum in November. It would hike an existing $500 per pupil levy to $1,250 for 10 years. A second referendum question asks for $150 per student for technology.

If both questions pass, the tax impact on a $100,000 home would be about $250 per year.

In other business Wednesday:

o The board approved extending acceptance of bids on the Lincoln school building until Nov. 15. Prospective bidders had complained they didn't have time to compile information because of harvesting.

o Public meetings to discuss the upcoming referendum will be held 6 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Fairmont Elementary Budd Room; 10 a.m. Oct. 15 at the Budd Room; 6 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Martin County Library; 6 p.m. Oct. 24 at Ceylon City Hall; and 10 a.m. Oct. 29 at the Martin County Library.



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