The Robbinsdale Board of Education approved the maximum levy for the year 2022 at its Sept. 22 meeting. The increase is $546,000 higher than last year, or an increase of 0.38%.
District Finance Director Ukee Dozier said the factors impacting next year’s levy increase included changes in inflation, home value changes, unemployment, changes in state funding, existing debt levies and the number of students enrolled.
“We understand that we have had a decrease in our enrollment,” said Dozier.
The total levy for 2022 is estimated to be $66.11 million.
Unemployment payout is expected to increase sharply. A table proffered by the finance department anticipated a 100% change in unemployment from 2021 to 2022, a doubling from $150,000 this year to a likely $300,000 next year. Dozier said the increase was due to the amount of people filing for unemployment due to the pandemic.
The most costly change was from existing debt: from $16.5 million in 2021 to $18 million in 2022, an 8.78% uptick. Dozier said a large portion of that was due to bonding for facilities maintenance, which was approved in the amount of $21.2 million after the maximum levy was set.
After the presentation, Boardmember John Vento made comments in regard to the freedom the board had to decide the levy maximum.
“This is controlled by inflation and enrollment,” Vento said. He added that he believed there was a public perception that the board was able to “max out” the levy.
Boardmembers David Boone and Helen Bassett made similar comments.