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Granton school taxes decrease; new bus purchase in budget

The tax rate for residents living in the Granton Area School District will be going down 42 cents for the 2019-20 school year while the school’s budget will experience a little shortfall in covering expenses for the year. Both were expected by district administration and the School Board after they made a decision earlier in the fall to purchase a needed bus for the district.

A levy of $1,167,182 was passed during the school’s annual meeting on Oct. 28 by the scant audience of one resident and members of the Board who had to act as community members to fulfill the requirement that two people are needed in order to pass any resolutions proposed by the district.

The levy for this year is a decrease of about 3.41 percent or about $41,177 from last year’ levy. Since the levy is lower, the mil rate residents will pay for the year will be $10.23 per $1,000 of property value, a decrease from last year’s rate of $10.65 per $1,000 of property value. For the owner of a $100,000, this will mean a savings of about $42.

Woodington said a number of factors contributed to the decreased tax levy for the year. Enrollment was down slightly from the year prior and property values were up, creating the revenue limit for the year. Though state aid was also smaller due to the lower enrollment, he said when that amount was subtracted from the revenue limit, it resulted in a lower local property tax.

Though expenses for the year are expected to be lower than last year’s by almost four percent, district administrator Scott Woodington said the school will experience a shortage in funds for the 2019-20 school year. Earlier in the fall, he said the Board agreed to spend approximately $82,000 on a new school bus for the district, which will come out of the school’ fund balance.

“We’re looking at a deficit budget due to the new bus purchase,” he said.

There have been several issues with most of the buses used by the school due to their age in the past couple years. Knowing that the school needed to begin updating its fleet, Board President Theresa Hasz said the Board unanimously made the decision to purchase the bus and deal with the deficit.

“We knew of the shortfall beforehand,” she said.

Also at the meeting, Woodington announced that work on the district’s pool area is officially over with the completion of tile work in the field house lobby and repairs to the roof of the pool. The entire project stayed within the $2 million referendum limit set by residents during the fall of 2017, with enough extra funds remaining from the project’s remodeling work to complete the replacement tile and roof work.