Budget

Liberty’s 2019-20 budget: $48,393,178

        • Program Budget: $37,061,923 ($36,907,299 in 2018-19)
          The Program Budget includes: The salaries and benefits of all teachers, guidance counselors, aides, monitors, psychologists, nurses, social workers and speech therapists.
        • Capital Budget: $6,345,519 ($7,265,744 in 2018-19)
          The Capital Budget includes: Debt service on buildings; bus purchases; tax certiorari and court-ordered costs; and operations and maintenance costs including custodial staff.
        • Administrative Budget: $4,985,736 ($4,676,069 in 2018-19)
          The Administrative Budget includes: The salaries and benefits of all professional members who spend 50 percent or more of their time in administration and supervision. Also included are: clerical staff; public information; curriculum development and supervision; research, planning and evaluation; legal services; and school board-related costs.

What is the difference between the tax levy and tax rate?

The tax levy is the total amount of money a school district raises in taxes each year from all property owners in the district. Tax rates are calculated by dividing the total amount of the levy by the total taxable assessed value in a community. Tax rates are affected by changes in municipal assessments and state equalization rates, which are determined in the summer. The tax rate is used to calculate each individual property tax bill. In August 2018, the Liberty Board of Education approved a 0.5% tax rate increase.


What is the tax levy limit, or tax cap?

The tax levy limit is the highest allowable tax levy (before exemptions) that a school district can propose as part of its annual budget for which a simple majority of voters (50 percent + 1) would be required for authorization. Any proposed tax levy amount above this limit would require budget approval by a supermajority (60 percent or more) of voters. The tax levy limit sets a threshold requiring districts to obtain a higher level of community support for a proposed tax levy above a certain amount.


School tax information

Tax rates for each municipality within the district are set each August. They are based on the tax levy for the year and final municipal assessments for each of the towns. Tax rates vary between towns because property in each is assessed at different levels in relation to full market value. The state assigns each town an equalization rate to fairly divide the tax levy between the towns. The district does not control any part of the assessment or equalization process.


About school budgets

The school budget is the biggest investment the community collectively makes with its tax dollars. District leaders work to make the most effective use of resources to benefit students, to develop and manage the budget in a responsible and transparent manner and to be accountable to taxpayers. Each spring the board of education adopts a budget for the coming school year for a community vote.

Budget development is a year-round process. Shaping the district’s budget begins by determining expected enrollment for each grade at every school, as well as enrollment for English Language Learners, students with special needs and students considered at-risk for academic failure. The primary factor shaping school’s budget is the expected enrollment. This helps determine the amount of funding a school receives from local tax dollars and federal grants, including Title I dollars.  This one page budget 101 infographic (PDF) offers a  step-by-step overview of the annual school budget development process.