Ely school tax levy could go down again

by Tom Coombe -

The Ely School District proposes to collect the maximum allowed by the state from local property owners, but even that could result in a reduction in school taxes.
School board members, during a brief regular session Monday, followed past practice and voted to set a preliminary levy at the state maximum.
While there was initial indication that the result would be a 3.5 percent decrease in the levy, superintendent Kevin Abrahamson said later in the week that the estimate was incorrect and the district must compile further data before a preliminary levy is finalized.
Abrahamson said the net result could yet be a decline in the district’s property tax levy, which was slashed from just over $1.9 million in 2016 to $1,656,222 this year.
That was a reduction of 13.7 percent - a result in shifts in state school funding formulas, and a further decrease is possible for 2018.
The final numbers won’t be determined until December,when the board finalizes the levy, which provided about 23 percent of the district’s revenue in the 2016-17 school year.
In other business, the board:
• Accepted the retirement of paraprofessional Renee Lassi, with board chairman Ray Marsnik lauding her for her service to the district.
• Hired Laurie Stewart-Warner for a part-time special education position and part-time online class supervision position.
• Delayed a vote on a memorandum of understanding with the local teachers’ union, regarding alternative teacher professional pay.
• Hired Crystal Manning and Kimberly Kerntz for cafeteria aide positions, and Jan Rue as a part-time paraprofessional.