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TMCNet:  Tax rate increases in Superior school district

[November 09, 2012]

Tax rate increases in Superior school district

Nov 09, 2012 (Superior Telegram - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The Superior School Board approved its budget for the 2012-13 school year Monday at its committee of the whole meeting.

Compared to previous years, homeowners will see a modest tax increase.

"The levy increase is 2.56 percent, which is what we anticipated it to be," said Jack Amadio, Superior school district business manager.

For a house valued at $158,000, property tax rates will increase about $38. Homeowners with houses valued at $209,000 will see a $51 increase, and those with homes valued at $313,400 will pay $76 more.

Last year, the school district decreased its tax levy by about half a percent. That led to slightly lower property tax payments for homeowners but forced the district to cut two teaching positions and two administrative positions.

This year the district saw a 0.29 percent increase in its budget, amounting to about $126,000.

Superior lost $203,408 in state equalization aid but was allowed to increase its revenue cap by $67 per student.

Robert Morehouse, chair of the budget and insurance committee, said this year's budget was not arbitrarily set. Last year's spending serves as the base for this year's budget, and adjustments are then made as the district learns its allowable increase in per pupil spending.

Board member John Hendricks called the 2.56 levy increase "reasonable" and pointed out that the district held its budget nearly even despite rising costs.

Statewide, Superior's budget plan compares favorably to other districts, Amadio said.

According to 2009-10 data, Superior is in the bottom 15 percent statewide for spending per pupil, but the district is also in the bottom quartile for property tax revenue per member. The Superior school district spends $10,455 per student on educational costs. The statewide average is $10,836.

Transportation costs for Superior exceed the state average, however. Superior spends $509 per pupil compared to $475 statewide.

The Superior district falls in the middle this year with its levy increase.

Hendricks said appreciated the data comparing Superior to other districts statewide. "Because otherwise we're in a cocoon," Hendricks said. "Are we high Are we low We don't know." The School Board approved the 2012-13 budget by a 5-0 vote. Board members Len Albrecht and Christina Kintop were not present.

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