Voters approve levy override for Hastings school district

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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB)
UPDATE: May 14, 2019. 6:15 PM

By a margin of more than 1,400 votes, patrons of the Hastings Public School district approved an override of one of the district's property tax levies.

In a mail-in election, voters gave the district permission to increase the tax levy for it's general operations. 3,354 voters favored the override, while 1,931 voted against. Adams county election officials mailed out some 12,000 ballots. Less than half were returned.

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Ballots have been sent out to residents of Hastings who are being asked to approve a seven-cent General Fund Levy override by Hastings Public Schools.

School officials are looking to use budgeting adjustments to support their general fund, which is facing a $2-million to $2.5-million shortfall in the coming year.

Schools superintendent Craig Kautz says the ballot language is simply required to ask for approval of the levy override, and does not explain other changes being made to decrease the building bond levy at the same time.

"What's unfortunate about the ballot question is it doesn't tell what the board is going to do in response," says Kautz. "The board's actually going to decrease the Bond Levy by seven-cents. So, there is no levy increase, no tax increase caused by this."

Kautz says the plan is to reduce payments on the bond so the general operating fund will have the money it needs to keep what he calls "the quality of our school system."

Ballots must be returned by May 14. Kautz encourages voters to have the ballots sent in prior to that date, as only ballots that has been received by the end of the day May 14 will be counted.