By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN A 2.06 percent proposed levy increase from last year was approved at the Delano School Board meeting Sept. 28.
Director of Business Affairs Sarah Miller said the increase is due to student numbers going up, which, overall, is a good thing.
“Unless the state makes adjustments, I don’t see this changing,” said Superintendent Dr. John Sweet.
The total amount of dollars the district levied in 2008, payable in 2009, was $5,303,904, and the proposed amount for 2009, payable in 2010, is $5,413,364, which is a difference of $109,460, or 2.06 percent. The district operates as a whole with a budget of approximately $26 million dollars.
At a special school board meeting Sept. 15, the board members discussed the district’s financial situation and the expiration of the current operating levy of $430 per pupil unit in 2012, according to Sweet. The state average operating levy is $823.
“Certainly, we are below the state average,” Miller said.
The district is currently deficit spending, utilizing reserves to balance the budget, according to Sweet.
“This gives reason to consider renewing and increasing the current operating levy prior to its expiration,” Sweet said.
The budget will be discussed and acted on at the Monday, Dec. 21 meeting of the school board. In the past, there has been a “truth in taxation” hearing, but this year it is not a requirement to have such a hearing, but rather the district must publish the date it will be discussing the budget.
At the special meeting, the board also discussed the facility needs of the district, as the buildings are all over capacity. Another meeting of the board took place Oct. 8 to continue discussion on the financial situation and the building needs.
Oath of office administered
Lisa Seguin, who was appointed by the school board to fill the remainder of a term vacated by Sarah Gallagher, was administered the oath of office by Miller at the meeting.
In other organizational duties, the board appointed Amy Johnson as the vice chairperson of the school board for the remainder of 2009.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• heard a program review from Activities Director Joe Haas, who highlighted the successes of the activities programs from last year. He said 15 of the 21 conference activities finished in the top half.
“That’s very successful, in my opinion,” Haas said, noting the strength of the Wright County Conference. He said the number of participants increased by 38. Haas also presented information on activity fees, participant numbers, and how concessions and booster clubs play into the activities budget.
Board Chairman Peter Brasket expressed appreciation to Haas for his presentation, and noted the board has not seen data like this in the past.
• presented a school bell to Gallagher, who resigned from the Delano School Board, and expressed appreciation to her for her years of service with the school board.
• approved revised board committees and representatives as presented to the board.
• approved an agreement with Webcast America.
Webcast America entered into an agreement with the Wright County Conference to webcast events. It is a student-run program, with Webcast making its money through local advertising.
Haas noted he has asked for, but not yet received fully, the statistics for who is watching the webcasts.
Board member Tim Douglas noted it is a good tool for college recruiters to utilize.
• approved a request for a high school field trip for the high school band to Orlando, FL, proposed by Jason Koets.
The educational goal of the trip will be to gain a better understanding of musicianship through a workshop at Disney World. The trip will take place March 27 through April 1.
Students involved will be doing fundraising to raise the $925 necessary for each student to participate.
• heard an update and approved the annual report on curriculum, instruction, and student achievement from Curriculum Director Joe Vieau. It was noted the report will be available on the school district’s web site this year.
• heard from Miller about school cleanliness procedures regarding the H1N1 virus, and also noted that the food service in the middle/high school has an upcoming review from the state, which occurs every five years.
• approved the following employment recommendations: Claire Austin as a special education teacher in the middle school, replacing Andrea Doom; Catherine Griep as a fourth grade teacher in a new position; Darcy Anderson as a food service worker in the elementary school, replacing Heidi Oscarson; Theresa Korbel as a high school/middle school food service worker/computer operator; Colleen Dzurik as a long-term substitute custodian in the elementary school; Bill Stevens as an assistant girls’ basketball (B-squad) coach; and Jamie Longstreet as an assistant boys’ basketball (B-squad) coach.
The board also approved family medical leaves of absence for high school science teacher Jessica Bahe and sixth grade teacher Desiree Helstrom.