District #18 Tax Levy Expected To Decline

School District #18 here in Elgin has some of the best teachers and students and, in a couple of weeks could have one of the lowest levies of any school district in the state.
Valuation figures released last week by county assessors in Antelope, Wheeler and Boone Counties for District #18 have given Superintendent Dan Polk some big numbers to work with in preparation of the 2015-16 school budget.
The school district’s valuation was set at $722,761,812. That’s an increase of more than $99 million from one year ago. The numbers break down as follows:
Antelope County — $659,879,268
Wheeler County — $18,241,116
Boone County — $44,650,428
What’s all this mean? Polk responded by explaining how the numbers will affect budget preparation.
“I believe our valuation went up just a little under 16% as a district. ($623,172,472 to $722,761,812),” he said last week. “That coupled with the fact our board has been very conservative in their spending policies while at the same time progressively improving facilities, buildings and programs for kids…. has left the district in a great position.
“Due to the preceding factors, plus the name plate capacity tax from the wind tower projects, the best “actual” (not budgeted) cash on hand situation for the district in several years, and the increase in state aid (which is NOT equalization aid but due to option students and other factors); the District #18 Public School Levy looks to fall substantially for the fourth straight year from .48 in the general and .03 in the building for .51 total to into the 30’s.
“While there is still work to do on the budget, since the valuation numbers just came out,  I continue to project not only a large drop in levy but also an actual reduction in the tax asking amount for the school to conduct it’s operations.  In other words not only a 4th big drop in levy in a row BUT property owners should actually pay less in taxes next year than they did this year,
“Assuming the same amount of property… This is RARE, as we all know operating costs for anything rarely decrease but with an influx in several revenue factors, including conservative spending, more state aid and mostly name plate capacity tax from the wind towers, any increase will be absorbed and then some and not passed on to taxpayers this year. I’m also sure, should it come to actually be the case as I suggest, it will be welcomed by the taxpayers.”