Even though truth-in-taxation statements mailed out earlier this fall show the Red Wing School District's tax levy increasing 12 percent over the current levy, no members of the public were at Monday's truth-in-taxation meeting to question the increase.
Still, the board stopped its regular meeting for about 15 minutes to explain the levy to the public.
"We're not used to growth in enrollment for a long time. That triggered most of the levy increase for us," Finance Director Brad Johnson said.
There is an estimated additional 134 resident pupil units figured into the levy. That's the highest enrollment has been since the 1992-93 school year and caused a preliminary levy to be set at $9,976,000.
On Monday, Johnson told the public that the state approved a reduction to the district's debt fund, and currently, the proposed levy is only about 10 percent higher than the current levy.
Still, he said the district and finance committee will continue to work to further reduce the proposed levy.
"We will be looking if we can make other changes," Johnson said, adding that the final levy must be certified by Dec. 19.
Johnson again reminded the public that the 2011 levy is about 8 percent lower than the 2010 levy. That drop was caused by what Johnson called a "perfect storm... of every drop" that year, including decreased enrollment, a reduced lease levy and a small referendum expiring.
Earlier this fall, Johnson said the district would like to reduce the levy to its 2010 level -- about $9,736,000. The current proposed levy is 0.8 percent higher than that.
Other factors that drove the current levy up include an increased ice arena levy and an increased health and safety levy.
Still, Johnson reminded the public that the proposed 2012 levy is lower than those 10 years ago. A bar graph showed the 2001 levy peaking at just over $14 million.
While there were no members of the public present during Monday night's meeting, Johnson said he has received calls from a handful of citizens.
"Their biggest comment was, 'Watch finances closely,'" Johnson said.
Johnson said anyone with questions about the proposed tax levy can call him at the Red Wing School District Office.