Prior to my current role as Brainerd Public Schools' director of business services, I spent nearly two decades in the private sector. People often ask me about my transition. While I found many similarities between school finance and business, one of the most noticeable differences was in the measurement of performance. Most performance measures in business - such as gross profit margin, efficiency ratio and inventory turnover - are concrete and easily calculated.
Recently, the 2014 proposed property tax statements were mailed to property owners. As a result, I have been receiving a few calls with nearly the same question: “Why did the ‘Other Local Levies’ portion of the school district taxes increase so much?” I am quick to respond that the total dollar amount of the school district’s annual property tax levy actually decreased this year by approximately $75,000. However, depending on the change to a specific property owner’s valuation, the school district’s portion of his or her taxes could either go up or down.
Several components of the education bill passed during the 2013 legislative session will affect school funding in Minnesota. This education bill, however, also made significant strides toward promoting the improvement of equity in funding for school districts.
In the April 28, 2013, issue of the Brainerd Dispatch , Keith Hansen wrote an editorial stating that investing 40 percent of the state’s budget in K-12 education “seemed a bit steep” and called for more results. We live in an amazing country that allows each of us to voice our opinions; I am not writing to share mine, but rather to share facts about Minnesota’s historical educational investments and the return on those investments.
A s in the past, the League of Women Voters has generously agreed to facilitate a forum for Brainerd School Board candidates on Monday, Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the Brainerd High School Little Theater. The forum provides the 10 community members who are vying for three open board seats with an important opportunity to introduce themselves to our community.
T he Brainerd School Board recently reviewed the school district’s proposed amount it will receive from local property taxes in 2013. We are grateful for the support of voters last November, increasing the level of local funding for our schools and bringing stability in providing the opportunities our students deserve.
BY STEVE LUND Brainerd School District