as introduced - 91st Legislature (2019 - 2020) Posted on 03/17/2020 12:17pm
A bill for an act
relating to education finance; increasing lease levy authority for school districts
that are members of cooperative units; amending Minnesota Statutes 2018, section
126C.40, subdivision 1.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:
Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 126C.40, subdivision 1, is amended to read:
(a) When an independent or a special school
district or a group of independent or special school districts finds it economically
advantageous to rent or lease a building or land for any instructional purposes or for school
storage or furniture repair, and it determines that the operating capital revenue authorized
under section 126C.10, subdivision 13, is insufficient for this purpose, it may apply to the
commissioner for permission to make an additional capital expenditure levy for this purpose.
An application for permission to levy under this subdivision must contain financial
justification for the proposed levy, the terms and conditions of the proposed lease, and a
description of the space to be leased and its proposed use.
(b) The criteria for approval of applications to levy under this subdivision must include:
the reasonableness of the price, the appropriateness of the space to the proposed activity,
the feasibility of transporting pupils to the leased building or land, conformity of the lease
to the laws and rules of the state of Minnesota, and the appropriateness of the proposed
lease to the space needs and the financial condition of the district. The commissioner must
not authorize a levy under this subdivision in an amount greater than the cost to the district
of renting or leasing a building or land for approved purposes. The proceeds of this levy
must not be used for custodial or other maintenance services. A district may not levy under
this subdivision for the purpose of leasing or renting a district-owned building or site to
(c) For agreements finalized after July 1, 1997, a district may not levy under this
subdivision for the purpose of leasing: (1) a newly constructed building used primarily for
regular kindergarten, elementary, or secondary instruction; or (2) a newly constructed
building addition or additions used primarily for regular kindergarten, elementary, or
secondary instruction that contains more than 20 percent of the square footage of the
previously existing building.
(d) Notwithstanding paragraph (b), a district may levy under this subdivision for the
purpose of leasing or renting a district-owned building or site to itself only if the amount is
needed by the district to make payments required by a lease purchase agreement, installment
purchase agreement, or other deferred payments agreement authorized by law, and the levy
meets the requirements of paragraph (c). A levy authorized for a district by the commissioner
under this paragraph may be in the amount needed by the district to make payments required
by a lease purchase agreement, installment purchase agreement, or other deferred payments
agreement authorized by law, provided that any agreement include a provision giving the
school districts the right to terminate the agreement annually without penalty.
(e) The total levy under this subdivision for a district for any year must not exceed $212
times the adjusted pupil units for the fiscal year to which the levy is attributable.
(f) For agreements for which a review and comment have been submitted to the
Department of Education after April 1, 1998, the term "instructional purpose" as used in
this subdivision excludes expenditures on stadiums.
(g) The commissioner of education may authorize a school district to exceed the limit
in paragraph (e) if the school district petitions the commissioner for approval. The
commissioner shall grant approval to a school district to exceed the limit in paragraph (e)
for not more than five years if the district meets the following criteria:
(1) the school district has been experiencing pupil enrollment growth in the preceding
(2) the purpose of the increased levy is in the long-term public interest;
(3) the purpose of the increased levy promotes colocation of government services; and
(4) the purpose of the increased levy is in the long-term interest of the district by avoiding
over construction of school facilities.
(h) A school district that is a member of an intermediate school districtnew text beginnew text end may include in its authority under this section the costs associated with leases
of administrative and classroom space for deleted text beginintermediate school districtdeleted text end programsnew text beginnew text end. This authority
must not exceed $65 times the adjusted pupil units of the member districts. This authority
is in addition to any other authority authorized under this section.new text beginnew text end
(i) In addition to the allowable capital levies in paragraph (a), for taxes payable in 2012
to 2023, a district that is a member of the "Technology and Information Education Systems"
data processing joint board, that finds it economically advantageous to enter into a lease
agreement to finance improvements to a building and land for a group of school districts
or special school districts for staff development purposes, may levy for its portion of lease
costs attributed to the district within the total levy limit in paragraph (e). The total levy
authority under this paragraph shall not exceed $632,000.
(j) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), a district may levy under this subdivision for the
purpose of leasing administrative space if the district can demonstrate to the satisfaction of
the commissioner that the lease cost for the administrative space is no greater than the lease
cost for instructional space that the district would otherwise lease. The commissioner must
deny this levy authority unless the district passes a resolution stating its intent to lease
instructional space under this section if the commissioner does not grant authority under
this paragraph. The resolution must also certify that the lease cost for administrative space
under this paragraph is no greater than the lease cost for the district's proposed instructional
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