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County to study impacts of 60 mill school levy on taxpayers

Posted 10/02/19 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

The McKenzie County commissioners are very concerned about the impacts of a North Dakota Legislative Interim Committee study that is looking at requiring all school districts in the state to have a minimum of a 60 mill general fund levy by the start of the 2024-25 school year.
So concerned that two weeks ago during their July 17 regular meeting, they authorized the expenditure of $7,250 to hire Brent Bogar of Jadestone Consulting to study the impacts that change in the state’s financing of school districts would have on McKenzie County property owners.
“This change in school funding would have a large implication on McKenzie County Public School District No. 1, as well as the other school districts in the county,” states Erica Johnsrud, McKenzie County auditor/treasurer. “We’ve seen huge increases in taxable valuations in the county that have really impacted the value of what a mill generates locally.”
And Steve Holen, McKenzie County Public School District No. 1 superintendent, shares the county commissioners’ concerns.
Currently, according to Holen, the general fund mill levy for his school district is 34 mills. And he agrees with the county commissioners that increasing that mill levy to 60 mills would have a big impact on school district property owners.  
“If the interim committee moves forward with that proposal and it is approved by the Legislature, if we don’t get our general fund to 60 mills, it would be a big shift in school funding for our district,” states Holen. “We may only get 20 to 30 percent of our school funding from the state. The rest would have to come from local property owners.”

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