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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Proposed Tax Rate to Remain Steady

West Des Moines Community Schools Chief Financial Officer presented a draft of the 2015-16 certified budget at a School Board workshop on Monday, March 23, proposing to maintain the district’s property tax rate at $13.27 per $1,000 valuation.

This keeps the district’s tax rate the lowest in the metro area, with, for example, Waukee $3.30 higher, Ankeny $6.91 higher, and Southeast Polk $8.39 higher.

The tax rate is determined through the certified budget, which is not the district’s line-item budget but an estimated budget maximum that the district cannot exceed. It also calculates spending authority and the revenue sources that finance the spending authority. In Iowa, the state not only provides money to schools to operate, it also tells school districts how much money they are allowed to spend. The concept is called “spending authority.”

Iowa Code Section 24.9 and 24.17 requires the district adopt a certified budget on or before April 15 each year. Currently, the state legislature has not yet finalized its funding for the 2015-16 school year, this is why the certified budget is an estimate.

The district is also required to hold a public hearing on the certified budget. The hearing will be held on Monday, April 13 at 7 p.m. in the Community Room at the Learning Resources Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines. The Certified Budget is available to review.