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Rochester School Board approves preliminary tax levy bump of 4.7% for 2023

RPS Finance Director John Carlson said inflation was a driving force behind the increase.

Rochester School Board
A school board meeting on May 3, 2022, at the Edison Building in Rochester.
Post Bulletin file photo
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ROCHESTER — The Rochester School Board approved on Tuesday a preliminary levy for taxes payable in 2023, asking for an increase of up to 4.7%.

RPS Finance Director John Carlson clarified that just because the district is asking for 4.7% more than last year, that will not necessarily be the rate for individual property owners.

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"It's really going to come down to how did your value change in relation to the average values in the community," Carlson said.

The preliminary tax levy the board approved on Tuesday is $73,489,982, which is an increase of $3.3 million over the year before.

Local property taxes are just one of the sources that support Rochester Public Schools. Overall, the district has an expenditure budget of more than $347 million for the 2022-23 school year.

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Carlson said inflation was a driving force behind the increase.

In spite of the inflation, the growth in the tax base is helping to offset the increase in the levy.

"There's been significant growth in the tax base, so even though the dollars collected would go up, there's much more value to spread that against," Carlson said.

The property values taxes are based on are determined by the county auditor. The Rochester School District exists in both Olmsted and Wabasha counties.

The preliminary levy sets a maximum amount by which the school district could increase taxes. The district will hold a truth in taxation meeting in December before approving the final tax levy.

Until the adoption of the final tax levy, the district can decrease the proposed tax levy, but it can't increase it.

Jordan Shearer covers K-12 education for the Post Bulletin. A Rochester native, he graduated from Bemidji State University in 2013 before heading out to write for a small newsroom in the boonies of western Nebraska. Bringing things full circle, he returned to Rochester in 2020 just shy of a decade after leaving. Readers can reach Jordan at 507-285-7710 or jshearer@postbulletin.com.
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