LF School District proposes an 8 percent decrease in its 2013 levy

By Tina SnellStaff Writer

The Little Falls School Board voted to decrease its proposed 2013 levy to district residents by 8.5 percent, a total of $348,604.

“Last year the school levy increased,” said Business Manager Nancy Henderson. “This year it’s being lowered due to a $210,000 decrease in the health and safety fund.

The District has set its preliminary tax levy at $3.75 million. In 2012, taxpayers paid $4.1 million.

The general fund decreased by 13.1 percent and the community services fund decreased by 6.29 percent. The general debt service increased by 5.1 percent and the other post employment benefits fund increased by less than 1 percent.

“Because of the timing of the improvement project in the District, the health and safety fund fluctuates,” said Henderson. “Projects are done over the summer break and the end of the school year is June 30, so any one project may span two fiscal years. The District budgets for health and safety by the project, so it could levy for it in one fiscal year, but it may not be finished until the following fiscal year. The state will then adjust the levy to the actual amount.”

Last year at this time, she said, the District projected an increase largely due to health and safety and this year it projected a decrease for the same reason.

The preliminary tax levy is set in September to allow the county auditor time to prepare individual taxes. The preliminary levy may not increase by December when the final levy is set. It may, on the other hand, decrease.

Little Falls School Board briefs

Other business conducted by the Little Falls School Board night included:

• Hearing a report from Barb Muckenhirn, director of 21st  Century Teaching and Learning, that Lincoln Elementary School has been designated a  Continuous Improvement School under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This is a result of the school being among the 25 percent of Title 1 schools with the lowest performance on the state’s Multiple Measurement Rating (MMR). The MMR measures student proficiency, academic growth, achievement gap reduction and, for high schools, the graduation rates. A needs assessment will be implemented to decide how to improve the school. A team will be put together which will include parents. Any parent is encouraged to become a member of the improvement team. If interested, contact Principal Larry Edgerton at (320) 616-6200 or e-mail him at ledgerton@lfalls.k12.mn.us;

• Learning a task force has been established to look into the Little Falls Community Recreation Area. Little Falls Activities and Human Resources Director Aaron Sinclair said the group was very motivated and from varied backgrounds. On the task force are Mary Kenna, chairperson, Aaron Sinclair, vice chair, John Vetter, secretary, Keith Thompson, Frank Gosiak, Dustin Simmonds, Shawn Alholm, Tim Bjorge and Brad Laager. The task force’s next meting will be Wednesday at Little Falls City Hall beginning at 5 p.m. The topic will be how to move forward;

• Hearing that Supt. Stephen Jones will be visiting Arlington with Little Falls Community High School Principal Tim Bjorge and agriculture teacher Doug Ploof, concerning the Farm to School program and how to make it better. He said the program at Sibley East, where he was previously the superintendent, was phenomenal and better named Garden to School. He would like to show Chartwells, the company that supplies Little Falls’ school meals, exactly what the District wants offered;

• Learning Deb Boelz, the executive director of the Little Falls Chamber of Commerce, is working on putting together an open forum with Little Falls school board candidates for the end of September;

• Hearing the District traded in its 1992 and 1996 International diesel buses, along with its 1996 GMC gas bus, for a 2005 International diesel bus. The cost to the District was $20,000;

• Setting the next Meet and Confer meeting for Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 3:30 p.m. at the LFCHS. The meeting is for union groups to voice concerns with curriculum, health, safety issues and building issues. The topics may be broad-ranged, but may not be about contract concerns;

• Voting to accept a budget adjustment that takes into account the addition of a fourth grade teacher at Lindbergh Elementary and a second grade teacher at Dr. S.G. Knight Elementary in Randall; and

• Scheduling a board retreat for Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 7:30 a.m. at the LFCHS.

The next School Board meeting will be held at the Morrison County Government Center Monday, Oct. 22, at 5:30 p.m.

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