continued The 2014-15 tax levy increase of 1.01 percent was the largest increase the district could have passed with approval from a simple majority (50 percent plus one) of voters, per the state’s property tax levy limit law. The law requires each school district to calculate its own levy limit based on a complex multi-step formula. Any increase above this limit would have required approval of a supermajority, or at least 60 percent of voters.
The district sought the maximum because of anticipated revenue losses from the state, due to the Gap Elimination Adjustment, as well as increased operational costs in the areas of special education, transportation and employee pensions and health insurance.
Administrators were able to keep the tax levy — or the amount of revenue raised through property taxes — at the limit by employing a number of strategies, including reductions in utilities costs as a result of energy-efficient renovations in recent building projects, reduced staffing levels, achieved through attrition, in response to the steady decline in student enrollment, refinancing of the district’s debt burden and reduced employee health insurance premiums, achieved through cooperatively purchased coverage, as well as contract negotiations with some of the district’s bargaining groups, according to district officials.