Oregon School Board Considering Prepayment of Debt to Keep Thousand Rate | Finance
If a school district’s budget is a roller coaster ride and the mileage rates collected by taxpayers are slopes and valleys, Andy Weiland, Oregon School District Business Manager, would prefer it to be the ride. the most lousy of all time.
The school board approved a preliminary budget of $ 68.1 million at its meeting on Monday, September 13, which it will present to the district’s annual meeting in two weeks, but will also look to provide voters with another option.
Board members and administration have expressed support for finding a way to ensure the per thousand rate remains similar to previous years to prevent taxpayers from suffering a sticker shock in December. One proposal to do this is to increase the early repayment of its debt.
“You’d be essentially (leveling) the roller coaster and it wouldn’t be as exciting of a ride – that’s what Andy is here for – it would just be level, instead of going up and down,” said Weiland.
The board could not vote on the proposal because it was not on the agenda, but it is expected to discuss it at the annual meeting of voters on September 27. The problem will be a gap created by the state’s 2021-23 biennial budget, which did not provide the expected annual increase of $ 150 per student.
This translates into a budget variance of $ 425,347 each. District administrators are hoping that federal funding for the US bailout at the governor’s discretion will cover this gap for the 2021-2022 school year, but it is not expected to be available in 2022-2023.
Under the current budget, the district’s thousandth rate, or the amount paid per $ 1,000 of property value, would drop to $ 10.33, from $ 11.19 in 2020.
Weiland’s proposal would increase that levy by increasing the amount the district pays on its debt this year, which would keep the thousandth rate relatively stable and help cover expected variances in the 2022-2023 budget.
“With debt cancellation, you could collect some of the debt and pay it off, basically, and increase the levy to do that,” he said. “Then the next year the levy would go down, or you could do it the next year if you wanted to. “
Weiland said the Republican-controlled state legislature intended school districts to use federal funds available to Governor Tony Evers to reduce the fiscal impact. He said Republicans in the Legislature have hinted they will give districts the ability to raise higher taxes in the 2023-25 biennial budget.
This is after the next assembly election, and Weiland has warned that he does not expect the amount given to school districts in this budget to match the needs of an additional $ 450 to $ 600 per student.
“We’ve never achieved a raise of $ 450 somewhere – I don’t know if they understand that, quite frankly,” Weiland said. “(The money) is there, they could give it to us today, but they’ve decided we’re getting too much federal money, and they don’t want to.”
OSD’s budget won’t be final until November, as the district awaits further information that will consolidate its numbers, including student numbers. This is taken on the third Friday of September and fixes the distribution of state aid for the district.
This tally will also determine the number of open registrations in the district, and funding is allocated differently. The district expects some students who registered outside the district in 2020-2021 to take an in-person option to have since returned.