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School tax request is way too high

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To the Editor:

This week we received a notice that Monticello schools are requesting an additional $1,299 per pupil or over $6,000,000 per year to be borne solely by district property taxpayers. This seemed like a lot so I looked into it. Interesting, this is the largest increase allowed by state law. The more I learned, the more outraged I became. The district claims they have suffered 3 years of budget cuts. But, according to published budgets, the budget has increased by over 15% since FY 2016-17. The school board also soft pedals the effect on taxpayers at only $20-$40 per month. That is $240 to $480 per year for homes assessed from $100,000 to $250,000, much more for higher valued homes. Furthermore, local property taxes currently contribute $8,558,000 per year to the budget. The additional $6,000,000 tax is a 70% INCREASE in our property tax. They say we need more teachers, yet the district ratio is a very low 16.2 pupils per teacher. Comparing neighboring districts 2020 spending per pupil: Big Lake $10,295, St. Michael Albertville $10,360, Buffalo $10,813, Elk River $11,298, MONTICELLO $13,392. So, despite spending 18%-29% more than our neighbors, our school board wants an outlandish 10% MORE. BTW one district actually spends a little more, Edina at $13,385 per pupil.

This outrageous, deceptively coded tax increase is ridiculous at any time, but in 2020 when many of our neighbors have lost their jobs, their business or worse, I cannot fathom the arrogance of the school board and administration. Please fact check this yourself at www.monticello.k12.mn.us. We must vote this down by an overwhelming margin to show we aren’t as stupid as the district thinks we are. Unfortunately, many of us just learned of this money grab recently, too late to challenge the incumbent school board members. But let’s make sure to remember their contempt for the taxpayers in 2022 when the rest of them come up for reelection. Thanks for reading.

- Marshall Hogenson

Monticello

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