Austin Public Schools gets more revenue for health and safety projects

Published 10:05 am Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Because of the Minnesota Legislature’s special session, Austin Public Schools will be getting more revenue for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

The Austin Public Schools Board approved the 10-year Facilities Plan Budget at its regularly scheduled meeting Monday night. The plan, which is reviewed by the board every year, sets the tone for projects the district plans to do in the next 10 years. Finance and Operations Director Mark Stotts said the approval of the 10-year Facilities Plan Budget is with the understanding the plan will likely change over time.

“It’s going to change,” he said. “I’ll guarantee it’s going to change.”

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During the special session, the state Legislature passed the Longterm Facility Maintenance Revenue, which will replace the former Health and Safety Revenue, deferred maintenance revenue, and alternative facilities bonding. Stotts said the new system will give districts more money, and Austin will get about $200,000 to $250,000 more revenue for the 2016-2017 fiscal year than they will receive this school year. The levy could also go down next year, but only for one year. This revenue means property taxes could go down next year since there will be more state aid.

“We’re getting a little bit of new money but it’s really replacing money that we’ve already been receiving in kind of a different form,” Stotts said.

The money can go to any health and safety project such as asbestos removal or fire marshall orders, or deferred maintenance projects such as roofing or HVAC systems repairs.

“It’s really a good thing because it’s going to give districts additional money for mainly deferred maintenance items,” Stotts said.