If a new operating referendum is passed, the School Board could then permanently raise property taxes over the next four school years, potentially using all $36 million of authority.
In 2016, voters passed a $26 million operating referendum, which similarly was phased in over four years, ending in 2019-20. Over the four years, the School Board raised property taxes by about $22 million, or about $4 million short of its full authority.
Without the additional money from an operating referendum next year, there could be a $10 million funding gap if certain costs, such as the employee salary schedule, are maintained, district officials have said.
A $36 million operating referendum could raise property taxes on an average-value house by $198 over four years.
The district began gathering input on the referendums in September, and it will continue to do so through next month. A report on the feedback is slated to be given to the School Board in January.
A report from the district’s Research and Program Evaluation Office presented Monday to the School Board indicated people who have attended one of the 31 sessions, some targeted to specific buildings or communities and some for the general public, have agreed the district has targeted areas of need in the $310-315 million proposal being discussed now. That would add an estimated $69 per $100,000 of property value to a tax bill.
“We’re not seeing at this point any major red flags that would cause you to shift course,” district executive director of research, accountability and data use Andrew Statz said. “We’re encouraged by what we’re seeing.”