The Farmington Area School District was able to significantly lower its proposed property tax levy from 5.46 percent to 2.5 percent because of a calculating error by the state, because the tax base grew, and because the district refinanced several bonds, said Jane Houska, director of finance.
"It was too high," she said.
The school board unanimously approved the change Monday, Dec. 12.
In 2016, the district levied $23.8 million in property taxes. The 2017 levy is estimated to be $24.4 million, an increase of $598,226.
Houska said it was still necessary to raise taxes, because the state revenues are still lagging.
"Since 2003, the state General Education Revenue formula has not kept pace with inflation," she said. For 2016 and 2017, the legislature approved an increase of 2 percent per year or an increase from $5,948 per pupil to $6,067.
"Per-pupil allowance for fiscal year 2017 would need to increase by another $550 or by 9.1 percent to have kept pace with inflation," she said.
The district gets 85 percent of its funding from the state, or $62.7 million. The second biggest revenue source is property taxes, which make up 11 percent or $8.1 million of the general fund income.
About 80 percent of the district's expenses go to pay salaries, wages and benefits.