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Somerset SD approves 1.63 percent increase to tax levy

The Somerset School District approved a tentative total tax levy of $7,776,660 for the 2018-2019 school year, with a projected mill rate set at $9.35 per $1,000 value.

The tax levy is up by 1.63 percent from the 2017-2018 school year, while the mill rate is down from $9.73. The district broke up the tax levy between the general operations portion of the levy and the debt service portion, which comes out to $5,601,729 and $2,174,931, respectively.

Director of Business Services & Operations David Gerberding said the district is estimating that the district's equalized value increased by 5.8 percent, which is why the calculation resulted in a smaller mill rate, despite the total dollar amount of the levy increasing.

Gerberding explained to gathered residents that the district is keeping a close eye on the Community Education budget in order to make sure the entire fund balance isn't being used up getting the program going. If that were to happen, it would require the district to consider levying Fund 80 for the Community Ed fund.

"Community Ed is working hard to get those fees such that they meet our need to fund the program while at the same time making the program generally self-sufficient and so that it adds to the fund balance every year," Gerberding said.

District Administrator Dr. Mark Bezek said the district has seen a decrease in enrollment by 28 students in comparison to the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. The district is down from 1,563 students at the end of last year to 1,513 at the beginning of this school year.

"Our trend has been dropping slightly, such as 2015-2017, when we had two big years of drops in enrollment," said Bezek. "The numbers we just got this morning show that we are down 28 students, with most of that being the elementary."

Residents of the school district also voted to authorize the school board to:

• acquire real estate

• designate sites for district buildings and provide for the erection of suitable school buildings

• direct and provide for the prosecution and defense of legal procedures

• authorize actual and necessary expenses of the school board members for travel when required

• authorize sale of property and/or items

• set board of education salaries for 2018-2019, so that all board members will receive $70 per meeting (per day/evening) in which they are in attendance

• set date for the 2019 annual meeting for Monday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. in the school district learning center conference room.

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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