By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN Following a presentation and discussion, the Delano School Board adopted its tax levy for 2010 Dec. 21.
The approved property tax levy showed an increase of $147,360 over last year, which is a 2.78 percent increase.
An explanation of the levy limitation and certification was given by Director of Business Affairs Sarah Miller and Superintendent Dr. John Sweet.
The board discussed why property taxes vary, basic school funding formula, a budget summary, and other items.
A discussion also took place regarding referendum revenue, with Miller noting referendum revenue allows districts to increase their general fund revenue with the approval of voters in the district. Delano School District currently levies a voter-approved operating referendum amount of $426 per pupil unit.
This 10-year levy will carry the district through fiscal year 2012-13, it was noted. Miller also noted the school district was granted authority by voters in 2007, to levy $292 per pupil unit to operate a grades 4-6 building and other additions. However, the 4-6 building was not approved, so the $292 per pupil unit has not been levied.
Q Comp goals approved for 2009-10 year
Neva Stoebner and Sweet reported on the goals and budget for Q Comp for 2009-10.
Q Comp is a voluntary program that allows local districts and exclusive representatives of the teachers to design and collectively bargain a plan that meets the five components of the law.
The five components under Q Comp include career ladder/advancement options, job-embedded professional development, teacher evaluation, performance pay, and an alternative salary schedule.
Approved school districts receive up to $260 per student ($169 per student in state aid and $91 per student in board-approved levy) for the program, according to the Minnesota Department of Education.
Currently, 44 Minnesota school districts, including Delano, and 31 charter schools have implemented programs or have been approved to implement Q Comp for the 2009-10 school year.
Delano received a letter Dec. 14 noting its goals have been approved for the school year. The elementary school increased its goal by 1 percent; the middle school’s goal changed with a 2 percent increase; and the high school’s goals stayed the same as were written.
Every school will have to have a peer review and/or school audit, it was noted. Next year’s budget will be $637,439, with $41,000 carried over from last year. The budget is driven by student count. It was noted Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) teachers may be added in the future to the program.
“It’s been a worthwhile program for the district,” commented Brasket.
District communications reviewed by board
In his update to the board, Sweet reviewed all publications produced by District Communications Coordinator Traci Lawman.
He noted that the district-wide “Eye of the Tiger” is mailed, while the others are found online. The elementary school’s publication is the “Tiger Club News,” the middle school’s is the “Tiger Tracks,” and the high school’s is “Through Tiger Eyes.”
Sweet also noted the new Community Education winter-spring brochure has been mailed and can also be found online.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• set its 2010 organizational meeting for Monday, Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Delano City Hall.
• established a health care savings plan administered by the Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS) for retired teachers who qualify for Medicare.
An agreement was also approved for Medicare-eligible retirees leaving the district insurance plan and associating with the MSRS health care savings plan.
• acknowledged a $700 donation from the Delano Jaycees to Delano Destination ImagiNation, and the donation of a park bench in the name of the class of 2009 from the Crow River State Bank.
• approved the resignation of Tiger Kids Club paraprofessional Amber Socher; the hiring of Joshua Menard as a Tiger Activity Center supervisor; and medical leaves of absence for basic skills teacher Virginia Diethart and sixth grade teacher Rebecca Olmscheid.
• heard from High School Principal Matt Schoen that US News magazine has reported on the top high schools in America, and Delano received the bronze rating for the second year in a row.
These ratings are determined by test scores required to be better than state averages and college readiness. It was noted that Delano High School partners with three universities for courses and, in 2009, 1,203 credits were earned.
• approved the first readings for policy changes regarding student disability discrimination, graduation requirements, basic standards testing, accommodations, modifications and exemptions, and school district system accountability.
The changes to the policy on graduation requirements is regarding new math and science standards that will be implemented for the class of 2015 and beyond.
Every student will be required to take algebra two or an equivalent, and on the science side, students will be required to take chemistry or physics. For scheduling, this will be one less elective that can be taken, and one more requirement.
Concerns about space issues, especially on the science side, were discussed by the board.
“That is a very big concern,” Schoen said, stating the requirements are basically “unfunded mandates” and are driven by the state.
• approved a revised policy on protection and privacy of student records following feedback from board members.