Enrollment increase, building projects affect payable 2022 levy

The Lakeville Area School District approved a 4.24% increase in its payable 2022 tax levy during its Sept. 28 regular meeting.

Among the factors affecting the levy are projected and actual increases in student enrollment, inflationary changes in voter-approved operating levy, and an increase in the lease levy.

Much of the district’s funding and formula for setting the annual tax levy are based on average daily membership (ADM) enrollment units.

District 194 is emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic with about 200 more students than last year.

At the end of the 2019-20 school year, the district’s enrollment was 11,075. It was 11,290 for 2020-21, according to the district. The projected 2021-22 enrollment was 11,520.

Those counts have a direct effect on many of the revenue funds, including those for Referendum, Local Option Revenue and Equity.

The total payable 2022 levy is $62.29 million, compared to 2021’s $59.756 million, which was $183,954 less than what the district levied in 2020.

The payable 2021 levy was the first year that a levy amount had been less than the previous year since 2017. The levy in 2017 was about $43 million.

District 194 Director of Business Services Bill Holmgren said the tax impact of the payable 2022 levy on residential properties will be provided in December.

Property values are on the rise in district, but so is the tax base with new residential and commercial development in the Lakeville area.

While increased valuations and the tax levy increase push property taxes up, the increase in District 194’s taxable market value can reduce taxes.

The district recently completed additions at Lake Marion, Christina Huddleston, JFK and Eastview elementary schools.

Those additions are being funded by lease levy, which is projected to increase from $1.77 million to $2.72 million in 2022. Lease levy can be used by school districts to build additions of less than 20% of the original structure.

The latter three additions create space for 364 students.

During the 2019-20 school year the district had 250 unaccommodated students based on its current classroom capacity at the elementary levels.

That deficit was projected to grow to 325 students by this school year, despite the addition at Lake Marion Elementary and changing Impact Academy from a whole-school program to an option at Orchard Lake, allowing for more enrollment at the school.

In the 2021-22 budget, which was set earlier this year, staffing levels were projected to drop by a total of 7.37 full-time equivalents when compared with the 2020-21 budget. Most of that reduction was accounted for with the reduction in the need for the online learning in Link12. That staffing level was projected to be reduced from 62.5 to 22.80 FTE.

To match the enrollment gains at the different schools, the 2021-22 staffing levels called for 17.81 additional full-time equivalent staff members at elementary schools, 4.29 FTE in the middle schools and 3.59 FTE in the high schools.

A net total of 6.62 FTE were added across all support departments with gains primarily in the special education and student services, and building and grounds.

Last year’s budget included no reductions in programs or positions, as the district had to spend down some of its general fund balance to cover a deficit.

More information about the budget is at isd194.org.

Tad Johnson can be reached at tad.johnson@apgecm.com.

Load comments