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Neligh-Oakdale’s general budget continues to climb thanks to a double-digit increase for taxpayers. The Board of Education is increasing the general fund nearly 11 percent.
Another change seen in the 2017-18 budget is the district eliminating all funding for its facility with zero dollars going toward the building fund. Despite that slash, the overall levy will increase — as will overall spending, according to information released Friday by Superintendent Scott Gregory.
The general budget will increase from $4,512,823 to $4,999,999.95. The new general budget is more than the entire 2016-17 budget. Neligh-Oakdale’s 2017-18 general fund will increase 10.8 percent, continuing a steady increase over the last three years. The general budget has increased 22.3 percent since 2014-15, when it was $4,057,736.
Neligh-Oakdale’s overall spending, according to its official tax request, will increase from $7,008,568 in 2016-17 to $8,122,551 in 2017-18.
Another big change for the district will be zero dollars going toward the building fund. The district will drop from requesting $252,525 last year to $0 this year, which may prove to be an indicator that the board is planning to move forward with consolidation and abandon its current facility.
Neligh-Oakdale, which saw an enrollment drop of 26 fewer students this year, has immersed itself in consolidation talks. With what began as talks with Elgin, Clearwater, Orchard and Ewing has morphed into a three-school merger conversation with just Neligh-Oakdale, Clearwater and Ewing.
Still, the decision to cut all funding for its facility was unexpected, considering just two months ago the board heard presentations on multi-million dollar projects involving HVAC and roofing. And that comes after the district spent more than $4 million on facility upgrades since 2012, including a new track complex just last year and sprinkler system throughout the main school.
Despite the drastic decrease toward its building fund, the overall district levy in 2017-18 will still go up for stakeholders an overall 5.8 percent. Neligh-Oakdale is requesting $5.1 million in taxes. That’s up from $4.9 million last year, mostly due to the nearly half million dollar increase in the general fund.
Neligh-Oakdale's levy will increase it to .91 this year.
The public is invited to attend a hearing on the budget Monday, Sept. 11, at 7:05 p.m.