The Minneapolis school board will take the first step toward what could become a 2014 property tax break for city residents on their school taxes.

The board is expected to vote on Tuesday to convert a portion of its voter-approved operating levy to a board-approved levy. That means that the district will gain an additional $2.7 million in state aid, slicing the property tax supporting the referendum levy by an equal amount.

The shift takes advantage of a 2013 law that allows districts to convert some of the operating levy approved by voters. It's something that the district lobbied for.

But whether that ends up meaning lower property tax bills depends on other taxing decisions the board makes on other spending supported by property taxes, such as pensions, its building program or a state-backed teacher compensation program.

The board is required to set a preliminary levy by the end of September.  District finance officials told the board in its Finance Committee last week that it's too early to know whether they'll recommend an increase or a cut in the levy, and by how much.