Waitsburg school levy in voters' hands

The levy is above current spending but below the allowable limit.

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WAITSBURG -- Voters are being asked to approve a two-year replacement maintenance and operation levy to pay for programs and activities in the Waitsburg School District that are not paid for with state or federal funds.

The proposition on the Feb. 14 ballot, mailed to voters last week, seeks $435,000 to be collected in 2013 and $447,000 to be collected in 2014.

Although the levy requested is 3 percent higher than the levy currently being collected, it is still well below the $614,259 maximum the district is authorized to collect.

The proposal would result in a tax rate of $3.62 per $1,000 of assessed valuation in 2013 and $3.72 in 2014. A simple majority is needed for passage.

The increases are partially due to increased health care benefits as well as retirement contributions legislated for employees of the district but not provided for by the state.

Because the district is below the state average in assessed valuation per pupil the district could receive additional levy equalization funds from the state if the two-year replacement levy is approved.

In the past, levy equalization support has been as high as 65 percent of the approved M & O levy, according to information provided by the district.

The increased levy amount will help the district keep up with the increased cost of operating programs, and covering increased fuel costs, Superintendent Carol Clarke said Thursday morning.

Levy proceeds will help pay for instructional materials, full-day kindergarten and the co-curricular program, which includes athletics, school clubs and other student activities.

Other items the levy would fund, according to district information, include salaries and benefits for teachers, classified staff and administrators in basic education programs and services not receiving state funding; support for food service, utilities, maintenance, supplies and equipment; and upgrades for technology.

Carrie Chicken can be reached at cec@innw.net or 522-5289.

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