Opt-Out Information

Faulkton Area School District Opt-Out 

Please click the link below for the public presentation slides from Tuesday.

Opt-Out Informational Meeting 

Also please note this document as the document used that had the clerical errors by the department of revenue.


A Good Problem to Have - A letter from Board Chairman Aaron Lorenzen
Often in life we hear the expression, “Well, that’s a good problem to have.” The oxymoron of a “good problem” never feels good when it is your problem. Usually when this is said I am overwhelmed with a situation in my business or an important family issue and I think, “How can this be a good problem?”

The Faulkton Area School District currently has a few “good problems.” Since 2015, the school has grown by 79 students. This is a growth of just over 26%. That is more than a good problem, it’s a great problem. We have a remarkable academic system, that parents want their children to be part of, and every district resident needs to be proud of that.

Now for the problem. A growing district has growing challenges. The school district has three local ways to fund its business: general fund levy, capital outlay levy, and special education levy. The state has put in place strict rules about how each of these funds can be used. Capital outlay is used for large purchases like buildings, curriculum, equipment, leases, etc. The special ed levy only pertains to the special education department and students in our district. This leaves us with the general fund to cover a wide variety of operating expenses.

The general fund is exactly what its title indicates; it encompasses all day-to-day functions of running a school: teacher and administrator salaries, benefits, insurance, propane, small equipment purchases, pens, paper, etc. State law caps the maximum a district can levy to accomplish meeting those general fund costs. Legislators created an avenue called an opt out to help districts that need additional funding to meet those expenses. In 2014, the voters of the district approved by a margin of over 60% a $450,000 opt out for the general fund for 5 years. In 2019, the school board at the time voted to issue the same opt out for another 5 years. The 5 years are up, and the current school board must address this issue once again.

Enter in the next problem. With the phenomenal growth our district is experiencing, so grows the struggles to adequately fund all the areas the general fund encompasses. On top of the growth, throw in a pandemic that occurred in 2020 that has sent all expenses rising. I am sure your family has been impacted just like mine - groceries cost more, insurance has gone up, and overall, the dollar doesn’t go as far as it did in 2019 or 2014. Our school district is not immune to these increases. To put it simply, it costs more to run a school district now than it did in 2014.

The school board, at its January meeting, unanimously voted to re-issue the opt out for $650,000 for 5 years. The reason for the increase from the 2014 and 2019 numbers is to stay ahead of these rising costs as well as our growth challenges. With more students there is a potential need for more staff. With wages ever increasing, staying competitive in hiring has also become challenging. The other reason for the increase from $450,000 to $650,000 is so that over the next 5 years the district has the funding available to continue to provide the quality education experience we are currently used to. The increase in the opt out amount will help tackle all these challenges for the next 5 years.

Without being overly dire, if this opt-out that is currently in place is not renewed, the board will be looking at making some very tough decisions. Academic programs and or teacher/paraprofessional positions may need to be eliminated. The school could be looking at eliminating teachers at the same time our district is growing. Those decisions do not only affect the school, but they also affect the entire community.

Without getting overly technical on how district funding is calculated, an increase from $450,000 to $650,000 (if that dollar amount was needed) would be equal to approximately $0.35 an acre for the average valued farm ground and approximately $49 for the average $120,000 valued home.
The thought of potentially raising taxes, even by small amounts in the range of $0.35-$49 should not be taken lightly. As a small business owner, homeowner, and recently married couple who are expecting our first child in April, every dollar spent is important. The forward progression of our growing and flourishing school is also very important. Since joining the school board a couple of years ago, we have worked very hard to navigate these ever-choppy inflation waters and provide the incredible educational experience our residents deserve. As your humble public servant, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. My cell phone number is 605-484-0265. Go Trojans!


OF $650,000


THE GOVERNING BOARD OF Faulkton Area Schools District 24-4 do state that the above said board is unable to operate under the tax limitation measure currently in statute for the General Fund. We therefore OPT OUT of such tax limitation in the amount of $650,000 starting with calendar year 2024 taxes payable in the calendar year 2025. This opt out will be for 5 years, which will be through taxes payable in the calendar year 2029. This action has been taken by the board and approved by at least a two-thirds vote of the board.
This decision may be referred to a vote of the people upon a petition signed by at least five percent of the registered voters in the district and filed with the governing body within twenty days of the first publication of this decision.
Unless this action is referred to a vote of the people and reversed by such vote, this resolution authorizes the county auditor to spread an excess levy to raise tax dollars in the above stated amount.

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