The Watertown-Mayer School Board approved the district’s 2014 tax levy and budget during its regular meeting on Monday, Dec. 16.
The toal levy for 2014 is $5,601,272.49, which is 0.31 percent lower than the 2013 levy. The 2013 levy was $5,618,514.52.
The total 2014 levy includes three parts — the general fund levy, Community Service fund and Debt Service levy. Debt service makes up the biggest chunk of the total levy, at $4.1 million. That’s a 1.45 increase from the year before.
The Community Service Levy is $287,652.42, which is an increase of 16.71 percent. However, the overall levy is going down because of a 9.1 percent decrease in the general fund levy from 2013 to 2014. The general fund levy will drop from $1.28 million this year to $1.16 million in 2014, due in large part to an increase in state aid.
A new state program will shift funding from the local levy to location equity revenue, which is designed to provide more funding to districts in the seven-county metro area, including Watertown-Mayer. The Watertown-Mayer School District has decided to use much of that location equity revenue to pay for parts of the budget that are normally 100 percent locally funded, thus shifting some of that burden from local taxpayers onto the state.
In other business:
• The school board approved a 2013-15 Memorandum of Understanding between Education Minnesota-Watertown-Mayer and the school district that will allow an assistant FFA advisor position to exist and be paid by donated funds. The local FFA chapter has seen a large increase in membership in recent years. The assistant advisor will be paid a stipend of $1,000.
• The school board approved the Watertown-Mayer School District Strategic Plan for the 2013 through 2018 school years. The board has been working on drafting the plan for many months, officially laying out a set of missions, goals and values for the school district.