Property owners in Millard Public Schools will pay higher taxes next year as payback starts on a bond issue laden with new security projects.
The total school district tax levy will rise from $1.21 to $1.23 per $100 of property valuation under the 2013-14 budget approved unanimously by school board members Tuesday night.
The extra 2 cents were applied to the bond levy in Nebraska's third-largest district.
Voters last May approved a $79.9 million bond issue, more than a third of which will pay for improved security districtwide.
The bond issue will also pay for additional classrooms and to replace what district officials say are deteriorating and failing infrastructure, including mechanical, electrical and lighting systems, roofing, paving and general maintenance.
Board member Mike Kennedy said the budget reflects the board's commitment to manage tax money wisely and prioritize goals.
“I think the taxpayers will be happy we kept true to our promise,” he said.
He said every local government faces the challenge of keeping up with expenses in the face of slow-growing property values.
Property valuations in the Learning Community, as well as in the district, showed only meager gains last year, said Ken Fossen, the district's chief financial officer.
The general fund budget, which pays teacher salaries and operating expenses, will be $213.7 million next year, up about 2.7 percent.
The Millard budget reflects the 95-cent common general fund levy of the Learning Community, which forms the property tax base for each of the 11 member districts.
Construction projects authorized under the bond referendum have already started in Millard, with front-door security on the fast track, officials said.
New buzz-in entrances are scheduled to be installed at elementary schools by late October, with middle and high school entrances completed by December, officials said.