Highlands School District board OKs 1% tax hike for the coming school year
Property taxes in the Highland School District will climb by 1% for next school year, which is about $25 per $100,000 in assessed property value, district officials said .
The tax hike is less than the 3.3% increase in a preliminary budget that school board members approved last month.
“I’m very excited about that because $25 a year on a $100,000 home around here is doable,” said School Director Misty Chybrzynski, who cast the sole opposition vote to the proposed budget in late May because of the larger tax increase. “With public education funding in general and how our hands are tied a lot of the time, I was grateful that they were able to get it down.”
The school board unanimously approved its final 2019-20 budget Tuesday night.
The budget relies on a property tax increase of 0.25-mill, raising the district’s millage from 24.63 mills to 24.88 mills.
The preliminary budget had called for an increase of 0.81-mill, which would have amounted to $81 per $100,000 in assessed property value. It was the maximum the state allows for the district without a referendum or special exceptions.
Lori Byron, the district’s business manager, said the administration requested the highest possible amount because they were unsure of certain potential expenses, including how much the district’s insurance coverage renewal would cost. The insurance policy turned out to be $30,000 less than the previous year Byron said Tuesday. She also cited savings in transportation and other areas.
“As we compiled and adjusted the budget based on the more relevant information, we were able to reduce it,” Byron said.
Among significant spending is $270,000 for a new K-8 science curriculum, including textbooks, workbooks and professional development for teachers, Byron said.
The district also continues to set aside money for future spikes in pension payments.
Officials said a copy of the revised, final budget will be posted to the district’s website.
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .