Last week, the Education Finance Committee took a road trip to Windom High School for an official field hearing.
I don’t serve on that committee, but was honored to tag along and present my bill, House File 1142. This legislation is a direct property tax relief bill that will save the taxpayers in the Shakopee School District nearly $2 million dollars annually.
I am very proud to carry this bill for our district in the House.
Our bill will amend the existing debt service equalization formula to deliver more property tax relief to districts that have significant debt, and would greatly help school districts in our state while reducing the tax rate.
It’s not just Shakopee that would benefit from this. It has been an extraordinary burden for taxpayers of growing suburban and Greater Minnesota school districts to fund facilities that deliver every child fair access to education. Our bill would help struggling districts pay for the facilities they need.
By simplifying the formula and expanding the number of districts who will qualify for equalization aid, this will also lower the amount that districts have to levy before qualifying.
Shakopee, for example, currently receives $1.7 million in debt service aid. Our bill would grant Shakopee an addition $1.9 million. The changes in our bill increase state debt service equalization aid by $48 million per year, which should decrease the amount that districts are required to levy to meet their debt service obligations by that same amount. Under current law, districts only receive $20 million per year in debt service equalization, so this is a 238 percent increase in aid.
Our bill passed the House Education Finance Committee, and has been moved along to Ways and Means.