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Published May 13, 2013, 10:15 PM

Tax relief for North Dakota residents may cost some area schools

More than 650 million dollars in property tax relief will be passed on to North Dakota residents through a change in the K-12 funding formula. This new formula will give schools more money per student, but for schools in the Grand Forks district this may not be enough.

By: Victor Correa, WDAZ

More than 650 million dollars in property tax relief will be passed on to North Dakota residents through a change in the K-12 funding formula. This new formula will give schools more money per student, but for schools in the Grand Forks district this may not be enough.

Public schools can expect 8,800 dollars per student for the next school years, but this money will be based on last year's enrollment and does nothing to accommodate schools in larger cities that are still growing.

One of the biggest things decided in the 63rd legislative session was property tax relief.

Larry Nybladh, Grand Forks Public Schools Superintendent: "From our school district's perspective it's a very positive thing, the reduction of property taxes was our school board's number one goal."

To help accommodate property tax cuts the state is providing more funding to schools. Where schools only received 3,700 per student, they're now getting 8,800 hundred. Great news for small schools like those in western North Dakota that are experiencing rapid growth.

Kylie Oversen, ND House of Reprasentatives: "They had to come up with some sort of funding mechanism to help those smaller schools to survive."

But it's another story for large growing schools like those in Grand Forks and Fargo.

Nybladh: "This school year we received about 225 new students coming through our doors last fall but we didn't receive one penny in state aid for those students."

Nybladh says with this formula he's expecting to hit a 3 million dollar deficit in the upcoming school years -- money the districts will have to find.

Nybladh: "You can either spend your reserves or you can try to look for other revenue, or you have to cut your expenditures."

Legislators know the bigger schools wouldn't receive the full benefit but they're hoping to correct that in the future.

Oversen: "Unfortunately the larger schools aren't receiving a benefit from that formula, hopefully that's something we can correct in the future."

Nybladh is afraid that if the larger schools continue to grow their deficit will increase as well.

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