Setting the levy for the upcoming year is a six-month process, one that begins in the summer by submitting data to the state of Minnesota, and concludes with a truth-in-taxation presentation in December.

DeeDee Kahring, Director of Finance and Operations for District 112, doesn't remember fielding a question from the public over the last 10 years during truth-in-taxation meetings. The impact on each residential and agricultural homestead in the Eastern Carver County Schools district has decreased for at least the fourth consecutive year, according to the district.

The 2021 levy is set for $50,564,501.87, a slight increase of 0.14%.

School property taxes for a $400,000 house in District 112 have decreased from roughly $2,400 in 2017 to roughly $2,100 in 2021. Agricultural and commercial property taxes have also decreased as the result of an increased tax base, Kahring said at the Dec. 7 board meeting.

The levy certification process begins in July with school districts projecting their enrollment and levies for general, community education and debt service. In September, the board approved the maximum levy which allows for adjustments of levies and an opportunity to provide better estimates for items such as enrollment, health and safety projects, alternative facility projects and debt service.

Roughly 23% of the 2020-21 budget for District 112 comes from property taxes with 70% coming from state sources.

Of the general fund budget, 75% is earmarked for salaries and employee benefits, with nearly 14% going to purchased services — the largest portion of that going to transportation services, which will see a decrease in future years with the district purchasing some of its own buses.

In other news:

  • District 112 agreed to a "soft freeze" in year one and a total compensation package over the two years ranging from 1.30% to 1.70% increases for multiple employee groups including custodians, paraprofessionals, clerical, nurses, and nutrition services for July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2022. It was noted that district teachers received a 6.11% increase over two years in its latest contract in 2019.

  • The district will begin implementation of new science standards, which will see impacts at all levels of school. Dan Cahill, on behalf of the Teaching and Learning Advisory Committee and Teaching and Learning Team, said elementary will see topics in different years, middle school will see a switch in grades six and eight and a new sequence in high school. The sequence will be Environmental Science for grade nine, Chemistry or Physics or a combination of both for grade 10 and Biology for grade 11.

  • School calendars for 2021-22 and 2022-23 were set. Among the highlights are a conference workshop on the Monday following MEA Break in October, giving families an extended five-day weekend. The first day of school is Sept. 7 in 2021 and Sept. 6 in 2022.

  • The meeting, the last for the calendar year 2020, was the final one for outgoing board members Amy Logue and Ron Meyer. Logue, vice chair, was on the board for eight years. Meyer, a treasurer in Osseo Area Schools, was a member for four years.