By Tim Schrag

The Hutchinson News

HAVEN -- Voters in a USD 312 special election approved authorizing the Haven School Board to adopt a local option budget for 2014-2015 not to exceed 31 percent.

Before the vote, the school district had a local option budget at 30 percent of state financial aid.The Reno County Clerk's office mailed 2,914 ballots to USD 312 voters. Of those returned, 585 voted in favor of the resolution with 431 voting against it.

"I'm not surprised and happy for the outcome," said Bryce Matteson, Haven School Board member. "I'm happy that our patrons and tax payers recognize the need."

The district estimates the extra 1 percent could produce about $200,000 in additional revenue.

Because of the 2014 Legislature's school finance action, property taxes are slated to dip, so even with a 31 percent local option budget, it would still leave Haven patrons with a lower property tax payment for schools than previously.

School Board member Bill Royer Jr. said the extra income will allow the school to make repairs and work on deferred maintenance projects across the district. USD 312 superintendent Rick White could not be reached for comment.

This is just for one year, a school official also said, referring to the state legislation's language on local option budgets. If a school district has a 31 percent local option budget by June 30, 2014, the local school board has the opportunity to move it up to 33 percent without going to the electorate.

The hike to 33 percent would expire June 30, 2015.

(c)2014 The Hutchinson News