Local schools districts approve budgets
All three area schools have officially approved their respective property tax mill levy in quiet fashion.
USD 339 Jefferson County North, USD 341 Oskaloosa and USD 342 McLouth approved mill levies last week without interruption or objection from the public. Meeting rooms were empty last week when school board members met to approve the published budgets.
USD 339 passed on the biggest increase to property tax payers with close to a two mill increase or about $25 a year for a property valued at $100,000. USD 341 property tax payers will see a 1.1 total mill increase.
USD 342 property tax payers have less room to complain and can actually somewhat celebrate a slight decrease in the mill levy.
The lack of public participation came as a surprise for some considering the anti-tax mood that has swept over the county and state.
Some districts are also getting less with more. Although USD 339 will raise the mill levy by nearly two mills, it will amount to only about $3,000 of additional revenue for the district.
Board meeting rooms could be more filled this time next year, however, if some issues are not addressed. Next year American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars disappear. Currently there are no ideas or plans for replacing that revenue.
Many districts including USD 341 are building in protection to this year’s budget in anticipation of cuts from the state legislature. Already sales tax projections are coming in below projected levels.
USD 341 Superintendent Jon Pfau said ARRA funds amount to about $400,000 of this year’s budget. The total budget is around $6 million.
“I’m concerned about that money going away,” he said last week.
by Dennis Sharkey
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