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Brainerd School District OKs tax hike in 2015

Brainerd School District taxpayers will see an increase on their 2015 property taxes.

The Brainerd School Board Monday voted 5-1, with board member Sue Kern against, to take advantage of the school tax increase through the state's Local Option Revenue (LOR) program. All school districts in Minnesota have the opportunity to levy operating dollars of up to $424 per pupil unit because of a bill Gov. Mark Dayton signed that expands the LOP program. The state changed the operating referendums in 2013 where districts in the seven county metro area were able to levy up to $424 per pupil units and schools with 2,000 or more students were able to access about half, or an additional $212, per pupil unit.

Now with the new changes in the LOR, all school districts may take advantage of the full amount of up to $424 per pupil unit.

LOR is the new name for the Location Equity Revenue program that offers the same marketable value tax rate to every school district in the state.

Brainerd will raise its levy operating funds from $512 to $724 per pupil unit. The extra $212 per pupil unit will generate an additional $1.4 million in operating dollars.

Kern said she was against the tax increase because "there are other ways to balance the budget."

Steve Lund, the district's director of business services, said taxpayers would not see the tax increase until their 2015 property tax statements. A property with a $100,000 market value home would see a $39 increase.

Seasonal properties are exempt from this tax increase, as the taxes are based on referendum market value.

Board member Reed Campbell asked Lund if the tax increase brings the district closer to the state average. "It does," Lund replied.

Jennifer Kraus

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