by LAURA HAYES
Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS) plans to collect just over $300,000 — 2.45 percent — more in taxes next year, according to the preliminary tax levy unanimously approved by the School Board.
The amount of money that school districts can levy is determined by a complex formula calculated by the Minnesota Department of Education. WAPS Director of Finance Sarah Slaby asked the School Board to certify the maximum preliminary levy. “What this does is allow the school district to levy the maximum amount by law … If the board were to choose to certify a specific dollar amount, we would be tied to that amount, and that ties our hands in the event the department of education finds any corrections that need to be made,” she said. Slaby explained that the preliminary levy would provide funds for the 2019 fiscal year.
The total levy is estimated to increase by $314,397.04. Overall, the levy is projected to be $13.2 million, which is broken into several categories including other post-employment benefits, debt service fund, community service fund, and the general fund. The voter-approved referendum is projected to increase by around $78,000 to a total of $4.85 million.
In December, WAPS will hold its truth in taxation hearing. At that point, the levy amount will be finalized.