The Mandan School Board unanimously approved a $44.5 million budget for the 2017-18 school year Monday night, which includes a 12 percent increase from the general fund.

The board held a budget hearing on Sept. 5, as required by state law. The district's total mill levy will increase by about 2.8 mills. The district is projected to collect about $767,000 in local property taxes due to a hike in the general fund levy while also collecting about $254,000 less from the state.

Christi Schaefbauer, business manager for Mandan Public Schools, said the general fund mill increase is due to a shifting of funds from the state to the local government.

Schaefbauer said the state guarantees $9,646 per student each year to school districts, with the stipulation that districts levy 60 mills locally for general fund purposes. Additionally, under the formula districts cannot increase taxes for schools by more than 12 percent.

Because taxable valuations in Mandan have been increasing in recent years, the district has been unable to reach that 60-mill minimum without going over that 12 percent maximum increase. In 2016-17, the district levied 55.93 general fund mills, and this year it will levy 58.13 general fund mills.

"If you keep having growing valuations year after year like we have — that it's exceeded that 12 percent — you start slipping behind that 60 mills," she said. "(This year) we’re getting a little bit more funding from the local government than the state, so we shifted some of that revenue a little bit, so our taxpayers are seeing a little bit more of an increase simply because of that."

The district's total mill levy will increase from 101.31 mills to 104.13 mills, or 7.8 percent, with the roughly three extra mills coming from the general fund increase.

For the 2017-18 school year, the district approved a $44,523,472 budget, compared to $43,918,170 last year.

The district also approved a 2 percent pay raise for teachers this year. Enrollment increased by 62 students in Mandan this year, as well.

(Reach Blair Emerson at 701-250-8251 or Blair.Emerson@bismarcktribune.com)

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