Wrenshall School District residents will see a 43.8% property tax increase in 2020.

The Wrenshall School Board certified the 2020 levy at $1.4 million following the Truth in Taxation hearing and budget presentation Monday, Dec. 16. The large increase is related to a $9.3 million health and safety bond the board approved to replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system and to make fire suppression upgrades at the school.

The school’s debt service payment went up nearly $360,000 as a result of the bond — or more than 83% of the school’s $431,000 increase.

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Carlton County Auditor Kathy Korteum estimates a taxpayer with a residential homestead property valued at $150,000 will owe $664.71 in 2020. In 2019, owners of a similarly valued property owed $476.25 for the school district’s portion of their property taxes.

Despite the large increase, the 2019-20 budget approved by the Wrenshall board still shows an $11,370 deficit.

The Wrenshall School Board's adopted 2020 levy increases property taxes for property owners in the district more than 43%. (File photo)
The Wrenshall School Board's adopted 2020 levy increases property taxes for property owners in the district more than 43%. (File photo)

Carlton approves 8.6% decrease; large deficit looms

The same night, the Carlton School Board approved an 8.6% tax decrease for 2020.

The Carlton board certified the 2020 levy at $1.6 million, a decrease of more than $151,000 over 2019.

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The decrease was expected after a drop of approximately $225,000 in payments in the districts’ expenses for a post-employment benefits bond for 2020.

Carlton’s taxes rose a similar amount in 2019 after the school board approved a $5.5 million health and safety bond for similar improvements at South Terrace Elementary School in 2018.

Korteum estimated a property owner with a residential homestead valued at $150,000 in Carlton will owe $505.80 for the school district’s portion of their property taxes in 2020, about $54 less than what they would have owed on a similarly valued home in 2019.

The Carlton School Board approved an 8.6$ tax decrease for its 2020 levy, but its  budget projects a nearly $600,000 deficit. (File photo)
The Carlton School Board approved an 8.6$ tax decrease for its 2020 levy, but its budget projects a nearly $600,000 deficit. (File photo)

While taxes are dropping in Carlton, the budget adopted over the summer projects a $580,000 deficit for this school year.

Carlton Superintendent Gwen Carman said she and business manager Norman Nelis would be working to present an amended budget over the next several weeks. She said she expects the board to approve the amended budget at its February meeting.

Board members of the two small districts have engaged in talks since the summer about a plan to consolidate the districts with a pre-K-5 school at South Terrace and a middle and high school in Wrenshall.