Proposed school levy up 4.1 percent

Teacher incentive pay key factor in increase

Reinstatement of a teacher incentive-pay program is the biggest factor in  a proposed 4.1 percent tax increase in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191.

The School Board voted Sept. 20 to certify a proposed $34.33 million levy payable in 2013. That’s $1.38 million more than this year’s levy.

Reinstatement of ProPay — the incentive-pay plan the district adopted years ago under Minnesota’s Q Comp law — accounts for $895,400 of the increase, according to the district.

Citing differences with administrators, the teachers union pulled out of the program in 2011-12. Now it’s back in effect after the two sides agreed on changes.

The program brings the district $2.5 million in extra revenue, most in state aid but some in local taxes, said Lisa Rider, executive director of business services.

Also contributing to the levy increase is $350,000 to cover a negative adjustment in the current year’s debt fund. The state allows districts to levy for 105 percent of principal and interest on debt. Sometimes adjustments are made to repay the overage that accumulates in a debt fund.

The last factor in the levy increase is a $200,000 estimated rise in the district’s obligations for unemployment insurance. The cost is going from $300,000 to an estimated $500,000. School districts are allowed to collect taxes to cover those costs.

The School Board has little control over most pieces of the levy, Rider told board members. The board could decide to not levy the extra $200,000 for unemployment, but it still needs to cover the costs, she said.

Final board action on the levy is expected Dec. 20.