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The School Board on Dec. 12 approved the district’s 2016 (payable 2017) property tax levy at $88.9 million, approximately $3.3 million (3.9 percent) more than the current year’s levy of $85.6 million.

The approved levy is just slightly higher than the preliminary levy approved by the board in September and represents the maximum amount, as determined by the state. Finance and Operations Director Jeff Solomon said the three biggest reasons for the increase this year include the voter-approved annual inflationary increase on the district’s 2013 operating levy, a reduction in state equalization aid that has shifted funding responsibility from the state to the local levy, and enrollment growth.

According to information from Dakota County, the average home in District 196 experienced a 2.5 percent increase in valuation in the last year. Meanwhile, Solomon said the average-valued home in the district (currently $264,000) will see an increase in school taxes of approximately 1.6 percent for the year.

Local property taxes represent approximately 20 percent of the revenues District 196 will receive this year. The other sources are state aids and credits (61 percent), federal aid (4 percent) and the remaining 15 percent from other sources such as self-insurance, gifts, donations and miscellaneous revenues such as food service fees, activity fees and admissions.

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