School Board may vote on a pair of levies tomorrow

At tomorrow’s meeting of the Miles City Unified Board of Trustees, the school board is expected to vote on placing a pair of tax levies on the ballot in the spring election.

District Superintendent Keith Campbell said the operational levy being considered would be for increasing or maintaining the school budgets at the elementary or high school. It would pay for budgeted funds like salaries, supplies and maintenance.

The board will also consider running a permissive levy, which is a tax levy that is not voted on by the electorate.

A permissive levy provides money for tuition, a building reserve fund, adult education, transportation and bus depreciation. This would be for the 2018 fiscal year. 

“The budget for these isn’t approved until August usually. The only reason that they are coming up at this board meeting is due to a bill in the legislature right now, SB 301, which if passed demands new levels of transparency from schools any time that they are going to increase or decrease these permissive funds,” Campbell wrote in an email. 

According to Campbell, SB 301 is one of the last main bills left that could potentially help with school infrastructure. The bill would allow districts to permissively levy money for their building reserve budgets. 

“Right now the only way to raise money in your building reserve is to ask the taxpayers for it in a levy election,” said Campbell. “This bill would allow the district to raise some money permissively without a vote but it requires the district to be transparent and tell the taxpayers how much they will levy and what it will be used for.”

The increased transparency would also require the district to tell their community every March what they expect to levy in those permissive funds, Campbell said. 

According to Campbell, right now the district doesn’t have to inform the community on how much is being levied until the budget is adopted by the board in August. 

The meeting is tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the District Administration Office at 1604 Main St. in Miles City.