TIME FRAME: 2021-2023

Capital Project Levy Revocation

CASE STUDY: ISD #417 / Tracy Area Public Schools

The Goal

Tracy Area Public Schools’ voters approved both a School Building Bond and a Capital Project Levy in 2014. With those obligations soon set to expire and facilities in need of ongoing deferred maintenance and improvements, the District needed to determine how best to finance $26 million in improvements.

The Solution

The District engaged Ehlers’ School Finance Team for Bond Referendum Planning and Support Services. Ehlers worked with the District to analyze options for financing its projects through a combination of Board-Approved Bonds and a $7.565-million Bond Referendum. Since the District’s 2014 referendum, the Minnesota legislature adopted the School Building Bond Agricultural tax credit, which pays 70% of agricultural property owners’ taxes attributable to school district debt service levies. The District had a voter-approved Capital Project Levy in place that funded ongoing deferred maintenance projects but it did not qualify for the tax credit. The Ehlers’ Team recommended the District ask voters to revoke the existing Capital Project Levy to reduce the overall tax impact for agricultural property owners, which made up a majority of the District’s tax base.

The Results

The Board approved $18.5 million in Facilities Maintenance Bonds in July 2022, providing funding to address indoor air quality in District facilities. In August 2022, more than 60% of District voters approved a Bond Referendum, which also included the revocation of the District’s existing Capital Project Levy. Ehlers facilitated the sale of the Board-Approved Bonds in the summer of 2022 and a second issuance of $7.565 million in January 2023. This approach made efficient use of the levy and provided relief to ag property owners while funding the District’s facilities’ needs