Wayne H. Anderson marks his ballot at the Austin Public Library Tuesday over the noon hour. Voters went to the poll to decide whether or not to extend a referendum for the Austin Schools. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com
Wayne H. Anderson marks his ballot at the Austin Public Library Tuesday over the noon hour. Voters went to the poll to decide whether or not to extend a referendum for the Austin Schools. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Archived Story

$1 million Austin schools levy passes

Published 9:38pm Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A little more than 80 percent of voters supported a $1 million operating levy for Austin Public Schools.

There were 2,990 residents who came to the polls Tuesday, with 2,401 in favor of the levy and 589 against.

“It’s been a very positive feeling,” said Austin Public Schools Board Chairman Greg Larson. “It should have passed, and it did.”

The levy, which goes toward wages, benefits, utilities payments and other items out of the district’s general fund, won’t be up for renewal until 2023.

Unlike previous years, taxes are guaranteed to decrease regardless of the vote. The Minnesota Legislature voted to change the state’s equalization aid formula this year, which the district uses to help balance the cost of funding its levies, compared to larger, more prosperous communities. The state will cover 60 percent of the levy, as opposed to 49 percent in previous years.

That $100,000 difference translates to savings for the average Austin taxpayer, as the owner of a $125,000 home would likely save about $52 per year in taxes, according to Mark Stotts, the district’s finance director.

A $500,000 commercial property’s taxes will likely decrease by $207 per year.

Superintendent David Krenz thanked residents for supporting the levy.

“I believe that public schools belong to the community,” Krenz said. “They truly are community schools.”

"I Voted" stickers are laid out on a table for people to take at the Austin Public Library Tuesday over the noon hour. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com
“I Voted” stickers are laid out on a table for people to take at the Austin Public Library Tuesday over the noon hour. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com
Austin Public Schools Superintendent David Krenz, left, smiles after hearing residents passed a $1 million operating levy for the district Tuesday night. Trey Mewes/trey.mewe@austindailyherald.com
Austin Public Schools Superintendent David Krenz, left, smiles after hearing residents passed a $1 million operating levy for the district Tuesday night. Trey Mewes/trey.mewe@austindailyherald.com

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