Electors in the Monona Grove School District approved a tax levy of just over $30 million for the 2019-20 fiscal year during the district’s annual meeting Monday.

The district’s general fund will be $43.72 million in 2019-20, with the gross total expenditures at $69.64 million, an increase of 23.75 percent from the previous year. Jerrud Rossing, director of business services, said most of this increase is from the $57 million building referendum.

The $30 million tax levy is a 7.06 percent increase from the previous year. Rossing said this is lower than what was projected when the referendum was first proposed, due in large part to a lower interest rate on the borrowing.

Rossing noted that 76 percent of the district’s budget is for salaries and benefits, followed by purchased services such as utilities.

“We are pretty much a people business,” he said.

Final approval of the tax rate won’t occur until the end of October, Rossing said.

First, the district must file its third Friday in September enrollment numbers with the state. Second, the state will announce the district’s equalization value Oct. 1. Finally, the state equalization aid will be announced Oct. 15.

Rossing said changes in those numbers up or down from the current projections can affect the final tax rate. Currently, the projected rate is $13.23 per $1,000 of assessed value, up from the rate of $12.95 last year but still less than the $13.25 rate of 2017-18 and $13.89 in 2016-17.

Voters also agreed to reduce the number of signatures required for candidates seeking election to the school board.

Because MG’s boundaries include part of the city of Madison, defined by state law as a second class city, nomination papers required 100 signatures. However, a change in state law allows districts with less than 10 percent of their area in a second class city to instead use the other criteria, that of only 20 signatures.

The Monona Grove School District qualified for the change, and voters agreed to require candidates to fill anywhere between 20 and 100 valid signatures to be on the ballot.

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