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District 87 Weighing Future Funding Options

BLOOMINGTON - It can be a difficult topic to bring to anyone: raising taxes. With the Twin Cities’ school districts struggling financially, they're eying two potential moves to help right the ship.
BLOOMINGTON - It can be a difficult topic to bring to anyone: raising taxes. With the Twin Cities’ school districts struggling financially, they're eying two potential moves to help right the ship.

District 87 Schools Superintendent Dr. Barry Reilly knows it's important to keep properties up to date.

"When roofs go out of warranty, eventually they may start leaking and you don't want to wait for the day they start leaking to fix them or redo the roof," said Reilly.

The district itself has a financial hole it's trying to fill. This year, it is operating with a $2.2 million deficit.
So, Reilly is eying two possible remedies: A property tax levy or a county wide sales tax.

"A sales tax in our case could provide us with the opportunity to pay off some of our debt as well as abate some of the money back to the tax payer," said Reilly.

Assuming more debt through property taxes is one option. Because property values are down, the increase for an average home would be roughly about $30 annually.

"We could certainly do that by issuing more bonds and more debt for us. That way will no doubt increase our property taxes. No one likes increased property taxes," said Reilly.

The proposed sales tax could flow cash back to the schools.

"This could be an option to lighten the load on the property tax owner and get some benefit because there are people who don't live here that could actually be contributing to the education of the kids here, which is kind of a nice thing," said Reilly.

Reilly says that money will help the school get out of the red, and allow it to upgrade its classrooms and get new technology to the table. He says, ultimately, the decision is the tax payers'.

At the Dec. 11 board meetings, both districts will take further steps to move forward with either the property tax levy or the county wide sales tax.

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