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Lanesboro School Board sets 2014 levy

Fri, Dec 27th, 2013
Posted in Lanesboro Education

The Lanesboro School Board certified their levy and approved the budget at their regular meeting on December 19. The levy for 2014 was set at $373,445.53.

Superintendent Jeff Boggs said the levy has gone down this year, and has been doing so for the last five years, which has been good for the taxpayers.

“A lot of the levy is beyond our control,” said Boggs. “I think we’ll see an increase in the levy again in the future.”

The state aid increased $20,000, but Boggs noted that overall, the district is getting less money. The district used to get money from the state based on how many students were open enrolled, which amounted to about $40,000 a year. The state has changed the way that is calculated, and the figure is down to $29,000. Of the $73,037 earmarked for Health and Safety, $50,000 is for the ventilation system that was required by the state.

The budget was also approved, with expenditures at $4,574,849. Boggs said he is not happy with what he has been seeing with the budget. The revenue is down some this year. Part of that is compensatory aid, which is based on the number of students that receive free or reduced lunches.

Board member Steve Snyder said he would be interested in knowing what other schools get from the state per pupil unit, especially schools in larger cities.

Boggs spoke about an operating referendum. Lanesboro does not currently have one, as they let the last one expire due to lack of need. Boggs explained the money from the last referendum is in a savings account, which has about $3 million. The district is spending this savings as an operating referendum. When the reserves get down to one or one and a half million, they might have to consider another referendum.

Boggs said if the district gets through 2019 with no referendum and no bonds, they will be completely debt free.

Some other concerns Boggs had were a decrease in Title I funding and federal money. He did mention that with the excess money in the state’s budget, the school districts might get some money in June. The state previously held back 30 percent from funding of schools, and may decide to pay that money back. The numbers are unknown at this time if it were to happen.

Playground equipment

Boggs explained to the board the city wants to make some changes to the playground equipment at Sylvan Park. He has spoken with the city and presented the board with the plans for new equipment. Boggs added they are just talking about it at this point, and he wanted the board to be aware.

Boggs noted that playground equipment is very expensive, but the numbers aren’t confirmed yet. He added the school will be paying for half the cost, as the students use the equipment every day. He explained they have had a playground audit in which engineers look it over.

“They are totally replacing what is there,” he said. “There are some things that are old and have to be replaced.”

Boggs said the playground equipment needs go beyond the school. The city has to look at things like tourism and bringing in residents.

“Well if we didn’t have it, we’d have to find a space and foot the bill ourselves,” Ruen said about the playground.

Staff Contract

The two-year contract for non-certified staff was approved. They will get a 3.7 percent raise the first year, and another 3.7 percent the second year, which is the same as certified staff.

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