By Starrla Cray
HOWARD LAKE, WAVERLY, WINSTED, MN The Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District is three questions away from the passage or failure of an $880,000 operating levy.
At the school board meeting last Monday, the board adopted a resolution calling for the election this fall.
The first question voters will be asked in November is if the school district’s existing referendum revenue authorization of $500 per pupil should be renewed for 10 years.
It is scheduled to expire in 2010. The renewal would begin with taxes payable in 2011.
Question number two proposes adding an inflationary factor to question number one, if question number one passes.
The third question asks if the district should revoke an existing $50 levy and replace it with a $150 levy.
For each of the questions, voters will be able to check either “yes” or “no.”
Cash flow to increase
To increase cash flow for the HLWW school district, the sale of more than $2 million in general obligation aid anticipation certificates was approved at the school board meeting last Monday.
“It has absolutely nothing to do with how a district is doing financially,” Betsy Knoche, a financial advisor from Ehlers & Associates, Inc., said at the meeting. “It’s very common.”
Because state aid is metered out, it “doesn’t always come in at the right time,” Knoche said. Schools typically borrow in anticipation of state aids coming in.
Aid unallocation from the state government may cause more schools to borrow money in the future, she added.
Typically, schools receive 90 percent of their aid the first year, and 10 percent the second year.
In 2010, schools will only receive 73 percent. The remaining 27 percent will be given in 2011.
“This has helped the state, but it hasn’t helped the school districts’ cash flow problems,” Knoche said.
At HLWW, the bid was awarded to low bidder Piper Jaffray & Co. in Minneapolis, with a true interest cost of 1.5772 percent.
There were a total of four bids considered.
“We wanted the ability to select someone other than the lowest bid,” School board member Al Doering said, referring to Citizens State Bank in Waverly. “Other local banks don’t even bid anymore. It always seems like they’re underbid by like $200 or something,” he added.
However, Knoche said in order to do that, all bids would have to be rejected.
“It’s a competitive bidding sale,” she said. “What we do is basically take blind bids. It’s in the district’s best interest to take the lowest bid.”
According to the bid tabulation, the par price for the aid anticipation certificate was $2,235,000. Piper Jaffray & Co.’s purchase price was $2,245,236. The district will be given an extra $10,200 so that Piper Jaffray & Co. can achieve a 2 percent interest rate for the investor. The net interest rate for the school, however, will be only 1.5772 percent.
HLWW will receive the funds Thursday, July 30, and they will be repaid at the end of August 2010.
The school doesn’t have to pay state or federal taxes on the certificates, Knoche said.
Bids awarded for work
At the meeting last Monday, the board approved several bids for the 2009-10 school year.
Mid-County Coop, which was awarded the fuel bid, was the only vender that was not the lowest bid. Dan Boeson, who is in charge of HLWW transportation, recommended staying with Mid-County Coop because of the extra services the company offers. The difference in price was $14 per month.
“He truly believes it is more than worth the money,” board member Dan Schaible said.
The snowplowing bid for the high school was awarded to Pat Bakeberg of Goldview Farms. Middle school and Humphrey snowplowing will be done by Borka Excavating, and Andy’s Lawn Care will plow the Winsted Elementary site.
Sara Lee Bakery was awarded the bakery bid, and Schroeder Dairy was awarded the dairy bid. The waste removal and recycling bids were awarded to Mumford Sanitation.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• decided to discuss potential staff cuts at the July 27 work session at 6 p.m. in the HLWW board room.
• approved the idea of a consulting contract for George Ladd. Specifics of the contract will be approved at a later date.
• heard that the agricultural program will be purchasing new textbooks. “The textbooks are very fine-tuned and specific,” Supt. Brad Sellner said.
• accepted the leave of absence request for family and consumer science teacher Kathryn Wilson, from Jan. 25 to June 9, 2010, if a qualified licensed person is found to replace her.
• approved the hire of Susan Winge for the part-time special education position at Holy Trinity for the 2009-10 school year.
• discussed the removal of four cottonwood trees on school property. “Two of them are three-fourths dead,” Sellner said.