The Lanesboro school district held its Truth in Taxation meeting at the December 13 school board meeting. No one from the public was present for comments or questions. During the 2017-18 fiscal year, the district’s revenues were $4,915,918 and expenditures were $5,205,976. The levy was set at $423,478.95 during that time. This year’s levy has been set at $868,693.87 due to the November 6 bond referendum for the facilities project which passed. It was noted that the preliminary tax statements that Lanesboro residents have already received did not reflect that voter approved portion of the levy as the estimates were required to be sent out before the election date. Residents can expect to receive an updated and final tax statement in January with the total amount. Superintendent Matt Schultz pointed out that even with the sizable levy increase for the Lanesboro school district this year, levies in neighboring and comparable districts are still higher than Lanesboro’s.
Representatives from HSR Associates visited the school on December 4 to meet with staff and administrators and discuss their specific works spaces and needs for the upcoming facilities project. They also spoke with the director of the Lanesboro Child Care Center about the daycare’s needs.
Secondary principal Brett Clarke and industrial arts teacher Paul Cutting were added to the facilities committee. The committee has been meeting regularly with HSR and is in the process of reviewing and modifying the preliminary plans for the facilities renovations and updates to ensure that things go smoothly once the project is underway. Time frames for the different parts of the project will be set soon.
Lanesboro alumni and RCTC project manager Shane Jensen was hired as the facility project consultant. “He would be our representative throughout the scope of this project,” Schultz said, adding that Jensen has been doing this type of work since 1994 and is giving the school a good deal on his services as he is a former graduate.
An unpaid leave of absence was approved for Tammy McCabe.
Board policy 701 regarding the establishment and adoption of the school district budget, policy 701.1 regarding the modification of the school district budget, and policy 702 regarding accounting were all reviewed in their second reading and approved by the board. A resolution relating to $8,120,000 in general obligation bonds was also approved, which states official intent to proceed with and authorizes the issuance and sale of the bonds. It was noted that the number was a little lower than originally estimated because interest rates are lower than they had been predicted for this time frame. Another resolution regarding the financing of the proposed project to be undertaken by the school district was also approved.
Kali Olstad from Smith Schafer & Associates, LTD presented the Lanesboro Public School’s 2017-18 audit report. There were no issues with the audit, and the district received a clean report. The general fund expenditures and transfers exceeded revenues by $304,391, which decreased the total general fund balance to $1,903,243. Roof repairs to the gymnasium and the purchase of a new bus were both covered by the general fund this year. The food service fund revenues exceeded the expenditures by $40,390, which increased the food service fund balance to $131,318. The total deficit balance of the community service fund was $239,864 for the year end of June 30, 2018. The board approved the audit.
The board approved the continuation of the district’s contract with HSR Associates for their architecture and engineering services. “They’ve been very good to work with so far,” board member Steve Snyder commented. “We’ve been very satisfied.”
The Lanesboro Schools World’s Best Workforce plan was reviewed and approved.
An early dismissal on December 21, 2018, at 11:34 a.m. was approved by the board.
Superintendent Schultz briefed the board on research he had done on Novel Energy Solutions from St. Charles, Minn., about solar energy options. “There are some pretty significant opportunities for us to do something with solar energy for the school,” Schultz said. Currently, the school pays the residential rate for energy, which is 14.5 cents per kilowatt. Novel Energy Solutions offers an option where the company would purchase a solar energy system for the school and sell it the energy. This would allow Novel Energy Solutions to benefit from the tax rebates. After five or six years, the company would then sell the system to the school. “We could see some pretty significant savings by going with solar energy,” Schultz noted. The highest amount that the school would have to pay would be 10.5 cents per kilowatt with solar energy. More research will be done before a decision is made.
The next Lanesboro School Board meeting will be on January 14 at 7 p.m.