A rewrite of Nebraska’s school funding formula put Schuyler Community Schools in a tight spot.

The district's board of education approved a $27.87 million budget for 2017-18, a decrease of $800,000 from the previous year.

However, the property tax rate and asking will increase for the coming year.

SCS will collect $14.07 million in property taxes for 2017-18, up from $12.92 million during the previous year. The district's tax rate jumps from 95 cents for every $100 in valuation to $1.02.

SCS Superintendent Dan Hoesing said the new formula reduced the district's state aid by $1.3 million, which led to the tax increase despite efforts to cut spending.

“The state was short $1 billion,” Hoesing said, referring to Nebraska's projected budget shortfall. “That resulted in many schools losing funds.”

Hoesing said school districts can’t reduce staff numbers after April 15 and don't receive state aid figures until June. By then, it's too late to cut positions to reduce spending.

“We had to try to predict where we thought we would be,” he said.

The 2017-18 property tax rate of $1.02 for every $100 in valuation is nearing the limit of $1.05, but Hoesing said certain exemptions allow districts to exceed that amount.

However, he'd prefer not to do that.


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