Intermediate school officially dons Holton name

Published 8:25 pm Monday, December 10, 2012

It’s official: The late I.J. Holton will live on in Austin’s school system.

The Austin Public Schools board voted unanimously during a Monday night meeting to approve I.J. Holton Intermediate School as the new school’s official name.

The name was unofficially decided in late August after a 6-0 school board vote that picked the late Holton, a former president and CEO of Hormel Foods Corp. who died in April, from a list of five names. The board had reached the end of a 90-day public comment period on the new school’s name.

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Tax levy lowers from 2012

The school board voted 7-0 to certify a 2013 property tax levy of $6,793,659, a 3.21 percent drop from last year’s levy of $7,018,790.

A home worth $147,000, according to the district’s Finance and Operations Director Mark Stotts, should pay about $32 less in taxes next year. He cautioned that number was a rough estimate that relied on a 2 percent increase on property values. If the value of commercial properties go up as anticipated, the savings could be greater.

“More than likely, [taxes] will go down more than that,” he said.

The state sets a maximum levy, which this year is lower than it was in 2012, but that does not necessarily mean the state will provide more aid to compensate for the money not brought in through taxes. A lower levy could be met with lower aid.

“You as a school board have very little control over what the levy limits will be,” Stotts told the board.

Right now, 84 percent of the district’s general fund comes from state aid, while 7.8 percent comes from property taxes.

Board Member Kathy Green clarified that while some of the school shift funds the state owed Minnesota schools looks to be returning, the $39,000 in interest payments from loans to make up for it in the meantime took a cut out of the district’s available funds.

“Those come out of the general fund and away from kids and programming,” Green said.

No members of the public got up to give their input on the tax levy during the meeting.


See the Tuesday print edition of the Herald for the full story.