HUDSON -- Though expenses were up due to COVID-19 and state aid is down, the Hudson School Board approved a decreased mill rate in its 2020-2021 levy at its annual meeting Monday, Sept. 14.
A district’s budget is made up, basically, of state aid and property tax levy, Chief Financial and Operations Officer Tim Erickson said. More than 60% of the Hudson district’s funding is from property taxes, Board Treasurer Heather Logelin said.
For the 2020-2021 budget, the mill rate is down 3.57% this year, landing at $9.99.
The expenditures for this year are up 3% from last year, for a total of a little more than $72 million.
They include more than $1.8 million in COVID-19-related expenses. These expenses are $365,000 for divider barriers, $500,000 for supplies like masks and gloves, $200,000 for technology to support families and classrooms, and $800,000 for increased substitute pay and additional cleaning staff.
Without the COVID-19 expenses, Erickson said the expenditure increase would be about a third of a percent.
“So we’re just about flat without the COVID-related expenses,” he said.
The budget includes a 1% increase in wages and salaries, and performance pay structures.
The district has a planned underlevy of $3.25 million. An underlevy is money that will not be levied on property owners, Erickson said, and is a direct property relief to taxpayers. Hudson is unique in how frequently it has an underlevy as well as the level its underlevy is at, Erickson said.
Revenues for the district are up about half a percent, Erickson said, for a total of almost $71 million.
The district continues to see challenges in addressing the reduced state funding levels. Hudson property values are growing faster than the state average, which means less state aid and more dependence on the local levy, Erickson said.
This year state aid was $885,000, or 4.1%, lower than last year.
The projected unassigned fund balance for the year is just over $23 million. This balance is above the board requirement, something that is prudent during the unknowns of COVID-19 and state funding, Logelin said.