School board considering tax increase to balance budget - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

School board considering tax increase to balance budget

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -- Sioux City Community School officials have some difficult decisions to make over the next couple of months. They're planning for the 2011-2012 budget, and they're looking at all the possibilities.

Thanks to lower state revenue, the Sioux City Community School District was forced to make cuts in the middle of this school year. Keeping that in mind as officials plan ahead, they're looking at all options to balance the 2011-2012 budget, and that could mean a tax increase.

Right now, the average Sioux City homeowner pays $17.61 per $1,000 assessed valuation. One possible scenario could keep that rate the same. Another scenario would increase that number to $17.86, and the third would make the tax rate jump to $17.96.

"It's a possibility. We will be presenting a recommendation based on what the state does in their funding as we get closer to certification date. But at this time, all I can say is that it's a possibility," says school district chief financial officer Gordon Winterlin.

A possible tax increase hinges on what the state decides to do about school districts' budget growth rate.

Right now, the number sits at 2%. But with the current fiscal crisis, it could likely be lowered, possibly as far as zero growth.

Governor Chet Culver has asked lawmakers to fully fund allowable growth at 2%. But, those same lawmakers would have to come up with a total of $540 million.

The Sioux City district is planning on the on a lower rate, rather than where it currently stands.

"Based on the revenue receipts that are coming into the state so far, it'll be very difficult to fully fund the 2% allowable growth that the governor would like to do," Winterlin said.

The district has also come up with three scenarios for state funding. At the most, the district's budget would be about $143 million, and at the least, around $138 million.

The school board has a couple of months to consider all the options. An approved budget is due on April 15th.

Online Reporter: Zach Tecklenburg

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