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Last Updated: 10/26/2015

Distributions to School Districts

School districts within the Taconite Assistance Area receive a total of 32.15 cents per taxable ton from various school funds. They also receive additional aid from the Taconite Referendum Fund, Taconite Railroad Aid, and grants from IRRRB funds.

Regular School Fund

A total of 24.72 cents per taxable ton is split among the 15 school districts in the Taconite Assistance Area. Each school district receives the amount it was entitled to receive in 1975 from the Occupation Tax. This amount may be adjusted by the aid guarantee. The remaining amount in the fund is distributed using an index based on pupil units and tax capacities. Generally, districts with larger tax capacities per pupil unit tend to receive a proportionately smaller amount of this fund. Eleven cents per ton of this distribution is not subject to the 95% levy limitation as determined by the Minnesota Department of Education.  

Taconite School Fund

School districts that have mining facilities that are mining or producing concentrate receive 3.43 cents per taxable ton. Fifty percent of the amount is distributed to districts where mining is conducted, and 50 percent is distributed to districts in which concentrate is produced. The distributions are determined on a mine-by-mine basis.

If a mining facility is mining in more than one school district, the 50 percent portion is split based on either a percentage of taconite reserves or a four-year production average.

If a mining facility produces concentrate in more than one school district, the 50 percent portion is split according to hours worked in each district.   

School Building Maintenance Fund

Certain school districts receive 4 cents per taxable ton from mining facilities within their vicinity. The money must be used for building maintenance and repairs. The distribution is based on pupil units.

  • Keewatin Taconite proceeds are distributed to the Coleraine and Nashwauk-Keewatin districts.
  • Hibbing Taconite proceeds are distributed to the Chisholm and Hibbing districts.
  • ArcelorMittal and Minntac proceeds are distributed to the Mountain Iron-Buhl, Virginia, Mesabi East and Eveleth-Gilbert districts.
  • Northshore Mining proceeds are distributed to the St. Louis County and Lake Superior districts.
  • United Taconite proceeds are distributed to the St. Louis County and Eveleth-Gilbert districts.

This additional money is not subject to the 95 percent levy limitations as determined by the Minnesota Department of Education.

Taconite Referendum Fund  

The Taconite Referendum Fund receives 21.3 cents per taxable ton. School districts receive money from the fund based on the following: 

  1. Districts receive the difference between $175 per pupil unit and a local property tax of 1.8 percent of the district’s net tax capacity in 2011. A district receiving money must reserve the lesser of $25 or the amount received per pupil unit for early childhood programs or outcome-based learning programs.
  2. Districts receive additional aid from the fund based on a formula using pupil units, net tax capacity, and a referendum revenue allowance.

School districts receive the aid on July 15. If any money remains in the Taconite Referendum Fund, it is distributed to the Taconite Environmental Protection Fund (TEPF) (two-thirds) and the Douglas J. Johnson Economic Protection Trust Fund (DJJ) (one-third).

Taconite Railroad Aid

School districts receive a set amount of aid equal to 62 percent of what they received in 1977 from the Taconite Railroad Gross Earnings Tax, which was repealed starting in 1989.

School Bond Payments

Production Tax revenues are used to make school bond payments for school districts within the Taconite Assistance Area. Most are funded 80 percent by Production Tax revenues and 20 percent by local efforts. The 80 percent portion is paid in equal shares from the TEPF and DJJ.

Next: Distributions to the Taconite Property Tax Relief Fund
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