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Hoven School District asks for seven year, $200,000 opt out

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The area colored in blue represents the Hoven School District in Potter, Faulk, Edmunds, and Walworth counties, while the yellow represents the Gettysburg School District in Potter County. Voters registered in the Hoven School District may vote in the school opt out special election on Sept. 18.

Although a majority of the land in Potter County lies within the boundaries of the Hoven School District, only those who actually live in the district will decide if the opt out of the property tax freeze will continue for another seven years.
The Hoven School Board passed the opt out resolution for $200,000 for the next seven years during the July meeting. The district is currently in an opt out for a maximum of $168,000 which will expire in October. According to the Potter County Auditor’s office, the school district asked for the full amount of the opt out in six of the past seven years. The amount requested has translated to a tax on the ag land in the district in the amount of approximately $.50 cents per $1,000 of valuation. The tax on owner occupied property was approximately $.84 cents, and the business property was taxed approximately $1.08, all based on $1,000 of taxable value. This is not the full and true value of property, but only the taxable value.
Because of the increase in property values and the large amount of property in the Hoven School District, if passed, the new opt out tax will not increase, despite the request for $32,000 more than the previous amount.
Potter County Auditor Karen Doerr explained that since the taxable amount of property increased, the mill levy is lower. “Last year’s total valuation of the Hoven School District, meaning taxed in 2010 and paid in 2011, totaled $249,677,780. This year the taxable value increased to $267,109,369, so even though the school district is asking for more, because of the value increase, the levy lowers. Keep in mind, this is not full and true, but only taxable value of the property,” said Doerr.
The current opt out request is not in addition to the existing tax, but rather a continuation at a higher dollar request.
The Hoven School Board minutes from the July 9 meeting listed 33 employees, including teaching and support staff, in both the high school and elementary. A report in the Aug. 6 Aberdeen American News reported that there are 108 students who attend kindergarten through grade 12.
Students who participate in sports compete in a co-op program with the Gettysburg school as the Potter County Battlers.
Hoven School Superintendent Peggy Peterson was asked what cuts have been made to staff and programs during the past seven years while the school has been operating under the opt out. She indicated that the information is being gathered but would not be available by press time. She said information would be available for next week’s edition of the News.
A petition was filed requesting the opt out be brought to a vote of the people. A special election will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 18. Details on the polling places will be provided in next week’s edition.
Those who are registered to vote in the Hoven School District may vote in the opt out. The deadline for voter registration was Tuesday, Sept. 4. According to Doerr, the County Auditor’s office has seen a large number of first time voters registering for the election. She explained that in order to legally vote in the school board election, the voters must have lived in the district for a minimum of 30 days during the past year.
A map of the school districts is printed with this story. For questions regarding voting eligibility, contact the Hoven School at 605-948-2252.
–Molly McRoberts

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