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Dover-Eyota School Board discusses new levy option

EYOTA — A new levy recently authorized by the state might get approval by the Dover-Eyota School Board.

On Monday night, the board heard details of the new Local Optional Revenue levy implemented by the state this year. The levy, which comes with a state-aid component, is different from an operating levy.

The board tentatively agreed to support a $200 per student LOR levy, said Bruce Klaehn, superintendent of the Dover-Eyota School District. But how much that adds to residents' property tax bills is hard to determine at this point.

"The board has to determine how they can best leverage state dollars, and that may be through some under-levying in some other categories," Klaehn said.

Basically, by approving the $200 levy on top of the district's $300 operating levy, the district would increase the tax burden throughout the district. But the $200 levy would be split between local revenue at 56 percent and state aid at 44 percent. The amount of local revenue could then be further reduced by cutting levies that have no state-aid component. Those levies include categories such as health & safety, safe schools and unemployment.

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Klaehn recommended cutting other levies in the amount of $112,000. That would reduce the local levy to $37,000 with an additional $115,000 in state aid. That would change the split in local and state aid to 24 percent local and 76 percent state aid.

The final tax impact won't be known, Klaehn said, until September when the school board passes all levies. At that point, the board will know how much of each levy comes from local taxes and how much comes from state aid.

"It's sort of a tricky way to do statewide levy," Klaehn said. "There's some strategy to it. How do we get the most amount of revenue for the least amount of levy."

In other business

• The board heard from Eyota Mayor Tyrel Clark, who presented a preliminary plan to sell inscribed paver blocks that would be paid for by sponsors such as businesses or local organizations. The pavers would help raise money for capital improvements.

"We'd plan on these going on the west entrance area (of the upgraded stadium)," Clark said. "So we need to be in on the planning for the facility."

• The board heard about initial plans for the upcoming elementary school remodel. Klaehn talked about some of the biggest scheduling and space hurdles the school will face once construction begins. For example, the main office will be moved next spring. Also, the school won't be able to prepare lunches for the first half of the 2015 school year. And, finally, summer programs in 2015 will need to be moved to the high school.

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