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September 18, 2013
LITTLETON—Residents may see the school portion of their tax bill increase by more than $1 per $1,000 of assessed value next month.

SAU 84 Superintendent Keith Pfeiffer gave a presentation to the school board Monday night about how less than expected revenue has presented a shortfall of around $1.2 million that will have to be pushed back on taxpayers.

Part of the decrease comes from a lower Adequacy Aid education payment from the state. SAU 84 had been projected to receive about $3,863,000 but instead is getting $3.6 million—a $263,000 decrease.

This year's surplus is $463,000, less than last year's $715,000, a decrease of $272,000 that cannot be used to offset the taxrate. Combine that with the $670,000 difference between the 2012 and 2013 budgets and the district is looking at a shortfall that will have to be passed along in the October tax bill, Pfeiffer said.

The local education tax rate had been projected to be $14.51 per $1,000 of assessed value but it is looking like it will be $15.83, a difference of about $1.30, Pfeiffer said.

Pfeiffer said this was not the fault of the school, which has worked had to keep costs down and manage the budget.

"This is not within school district control," he said. "I have grave concerns about that."

"It doesn't matter how careful we are when something like this happens," said school board chairwoman Alison Bolt.

The superintendent asked that residents speak to their state representatives and state senator to see what could be done.

Resident Brien Ward suggested that the board investigate using capital reserve funds "to offset this hiccup" and that the board also meet with the budget committee as it has continuity in dealing with issues like this in the past.

In addition to discussing the tax rate, the board heard presentations by teachers about the visual arts programs throughout the district, as well as music programs. Bolt said it was important the board learn about the programs offered to students.

"We want to hear from all of you because we support your programs," Bolt said to the teachers.

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