Grand Forks school board under fire after proposed property tax increaseGrand Forks School Board Member Tim Lamb says the board will go back and scrutinize a proposed budget further before passing a large property tax increase.
By: David Schwab, WDAZ
Grand Forks School Board Member Tim Lamb says the board will go back and scrutinize a proposed budget further before passing a large property tax increase.
The school board has received criticism for being 6 million dollars in debt, which the district says stems mostly from cuts in federal funds, a faulty state funding distribution.
Lamb says a number of factors contribute to the need for more funding. That includes a large increase in the student population that is not paid for through state funding until the following year.
The school board heard from the public Monday night about the proposed 28.6 percent increase in the school district's portion of property taxes. People would not see that on their tax bill because of the state's tax relief money, but they would also would not see as much of a reduction in their taxes. Board member Tim Lamb, however, was called out in a recent editorial letter in the Grand Forks Herald when he said the school district was the only taxing entity in the community to give back mills or property tax back in recent years. In that letter, Council President Hal Gershman disputed Lamb's statement. "For someone not to recognize the efforts of the city council and the mayor, our staff has worked very hard to make this happen. [it] frankly irritated me," said Gershman. Lamb responded, saying "if I underestimated what the city has done, then I think Hal has the right to set the record straight, and he did."
Gershman says without those cuts Grand Forks would be paying an additional four million dollars in property taxes.