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Nevis School District proposing reduced levy in 2011

The Nevis School Board approved a proposed 2011 property tax levy of $599,001, nearly an 18 percent reduction over this year's levy of $705,076.

But what residents see on tax statements will depend on what district voters decide in November.

The district is proposing revoking the current operating levy of $126 per resident pupil and asking voters to authorize a $475 per resident pupil amount. This would be applicable for 10 years.

This is not a building referendum, as some district residents have assumed, but as a means to augment state funding, which is expected to remain stagnant or drop.

The $475 per resident pupil proposed in Nevis is considerably less than the state average of $847 in 2010-11.

The proposed levy in 2011 would be reduced from 2010 by $106,076. If the operating levy is approved by voters in November, the school district levy would increase by $102,951, the overall total slightly less than what taxpayers experienced this year.

In explaining the 2011 levy reduction this week, superintendent Steve Rassier said a decrease in student enrollment is reflected, as well as a reduced authority to several levies. A $48,000 reduction in the debt service fund is due to an excess fund balance created when the bond was refinanced, he explained.

In other action, the board:

n Reviewed enrollment figures, which total 511 as of Sept. 27, down one from last year at the same time. Open enrolled students total 280, compared with 275 students last year, and district students number 231, compared with 235 a year ago.

"Fifty-five percent of the students are open enrolled," Rassier said. "This adds to the programming of classes," he said of expanded curriculum.

Nevis students going out of the district via open enrollment total 41. "I don't know of another district in the state that can match these numbers," Rassier commented.