A month after St. Paul and Ramsey County officials pitched property-tax levy increases, St. Paul School District administrators proposed Tuesday that the district boost its annual tax levy by 2.75 percent in 2016.
But the school board — for now, at least — is leaving open the possibility of taking it higher.
Board members heard the levy plan during a committee meeting Tuesday. Marie Schrul, the district’s controller, cautioned that the proposal reflected calculations pulled together after the state Department of Education supplied financial data on Monday. But she added she didn’t expect it to change significantly by the time the board takes up the issue on Sept. 22.
Unlike levy plans presented by a city or county, a school district levy proposal does not include a budget laying out how dollars are spent — only the amount of property taxes to be collected. In St. Paul, signs point to increases ahead for most homeowners.
The county is weighing a 2.8 percent increase in its levy, and Mayor Chris Coleman has proposed a 1.9 percent increase in the city’s levy. In addition, homeowners could see taxes rise as a result of market values.
The county assessor reported this year that the growth in residential market values in St. Paul continues to outpace that of commercial/industrial properties and that the median-valued homes in four city neighborhoods — the North End, Frogtown, the West End and downtown — saw value increases of 8 percent or more, putting them at greater risk of hefty property-tax hikes.
The district, like the city and county, is considering the maximum amount it could raise in 2016 taxes.
The county then calculates potential tax bills for individual properties based on the ceilings set by the district, city and county. Each takes final action on their respective tax plans later this year.
Board Member John Brodrick said the district was in a good position, politically, with its 2.75 increase falling between those proposed by the city and the county. But he was among members suggesting it could go even higher in order to sustain programming.
Superintendent Valeria Silva said Schrul had recommended a 3 percent hike, but that she preferred the 2.75 percent increase.