REMINDER: Ballots due Tuesday in Dieringer special election for levy replacement

Residents in the Dieringer School District should be receiving ballots this week for the district’s Educational Programs and Operations Replacement levy, part of the Feb. 14 special election.

According to Superintendent Judy Neumeier-Martinson, the levy makes up a “significant portion” – more than 32 percent – of the tiny district’s overall budget.

“This is a replacement of the current levy that is in place,” she said.

But according to Neumeier-Martinson, the district this time around is asking for only 90 percent of the last levy, passed in 2010.

The district is asking voters to approve a two-year levy with a 2013 amount of $5.45 million and a 2014 amount of $5.75 million.

According to literature provided by the district, the levy is estimated to produce a tax rate of approximately $4.82 per $1,000 assessed value.

Neumeier-Martinson said the per thousand average may be a little higher than the previous levy due to falling values with in the district. According to the Superintendent, the Dieringer District had an estimated assessed value of $1.8 billion in 2008, though today that is estimated at $1.3 billion.

Meanwhile, Nuemeier-Martinson said Dieringer is the fastest-growing district in the county, percentage-wise with a growth rate of 5.31 percent, while the county average decreased by 0.02 percent

For Dieringer, that means an increase from 1,413 students last year to 1,488 this year.

Nuemeier-Martinson said costs within the district, such as fuel and utilities also continue to increase.

Money from the levy is used to keep class sizes at an “appropriate level,” according to Neumeier-Martinson, as well as to subsidize transportation, which the superintendent said is very expensive because none of the district’s students can walk to school.

Money from the levy is also used for educational and extracurricular programs.

“We’ve usually used those levy funds to keep our schools as much like a school as we can,” Neumeier-Martinson said.

There is no organized opposition to the levy.

Ballots in the all-mail special election must be postmarked by Feb. 14.