Silver Valley schools are getting more money from the state, but it’s still not enough to cover all educational expenses, school officials say.
With up-to-date financial figures in hand, school boards in Kellogg and Wallace decided Monday to run supplemental levy elections on May 2.
Kellogg is asking voters to approve a $698,000 levy, and Wallace is seeking a $675,000 levy. Kellogg’s proposed levy is almost $90,000 more than last year’s.
Wallace decreased its proposed levy by $13,000 from last year. However, the Wallace levy is a two-year levy, meaning officials will be able to renew the levy next year without a vote.
Kootenai Joint School District also is seeking a two-year levy for $175,000 each year. That’s down from $196,000, the amount of the last two-year levy.
“It’s kind of nice to reduce it,” said Kootenai Superintendent Ron Hill. That election is scheduled for May 16.
Though Kellogg Joint School District is increasing its levy, the school tax rate is continuing to drop for district property owners because of increasing market values and the governor’s tax break proposal.
The current school tax rate is $7.64 per $1,000 of assessed property value. That will drop to $7.02 per $1,000 assessed property value under the proposed supplemental levy. About two-fifths of that rate accounts for the supplemental levy.
Though the rate is decreasing, taxes could increase for owners of property that is rising in value.
“This is the lowest it’s been in 10 years,” Superintendent Larry Curry said of the tax rate. “We could have done a better job if we had had a higher state appropriation.”
Curry is estimating his district will get about $4.7 million from the state.
Frank Bertino, superintendent of the Wallace School District, said he anticipates local tax revenue to decrease by $118,901.
Most of that will be made up by sales tax revenue funneled to districts to replace local revenue lost under the governor’s property tax break.
Wallace’s tax rate with the proposed supplemental levy, $8.55 per $1,000 valuation, is a decrease of $1.03 per $1,000 from last year. Bertino said it would be the lowest tax rate in six years for the district.
Overall, revenue is increasing in Wallace, by salary increases.
“We are gambling a little bit to try for that two-year levy,” Bertino said. “We’re gambling that things have stabilized a little bit. We’re gambling that the Legislature will act in a similar fashion as they did this year in terms of school finance.”
In Mullan, voters passed a $240,000 supplemental levy last year that is renewable each year without a public vote for an indefinite time period.
In both Wallace and Kellogg, the polls will be open from noon to 7 p.m. on May 2. Residents can register to vote at the polls.
In Kellogg, polling places are Sunnyside Elementary School, Pinehurst Elementary School, Smelterville City Hall and Canyon Elementary School.
In Wallace, polling places are Wallace Intermediate School, Osburn Primary School, Silverwood Good Samaritan Center in Silverton, and the Prichard Fire Hall.