The Delano School Board Monday, Dec. 17, certified a final property tax levy for 2013 of $4,995,715.87 — an increase of $372,450.91 (8.06 percent) from the 2012 property tax levy.
At the meeting, the School Board also took up other business. Here are some meeting highlights.
District Business Manager Mary Reeder explained the 2013 budget and property tax levy during the truth in taxation hearing. She said the 2013 tax levy increase is due to the $325 per pupil operating levy referendum that voters approved during the November election.
She added that district voters have authorized Delano Schools to levy $1,063.01 per student, but the district will levy for only $751.86 per student in 2013. The School Board has decided not to enact the $311.15 per pupil levy that voters approved a number of years ago for operating a new school for grades four through six. The school was not built.
Meanwhile, the average tax levy statewide is $926 per student, Reeder said. Minnesota has capped the levy authority for public schools at $1,629 per student.
Delano Public Schools is budgeting for $24,627,146 in revenues and $25,311,473 in expenses for fiscal year 2012–13. The estimated withdrawal from the reserve fund to cover the deficit would be $684,327. This would leave a reserve fund balance of $6,637,783 as of June 30, 2013.
Later in the meeting, Reeder described the state aid outlook for public schools. School districts started to receive 82.5 percent of their state aid as of Dec. 15 instead of the originally expected 64.3 percent. This increased amount is due to the improved budget outlook that the state received in November. School districts are expected to continue to get 82.5 percent, even if the February forecast is not favorable for the current and next biennium — unless the legislature changes the plan. If the February forecast is favorable, the state could again increase the state aid shift for schools. This change would take effect in March.
NEW LA CROSSE PROGRAM
The School Board approved the addition of boys’ and girls’ lacrosse teams to the sports picture at Delano High School (DHS) — starting with the spring 2013 season.
Activities Director Mike Lindquist did a Title IX survey and discovered a lot of student interest in lacrosse. A strong boys’ and girls’ lacrosse club currently is in place. In order to run, both programs have to be stable and run together. Due to Title IX constraints, the district cannot run the boys program without the girls program.
Lacrosse is a growing sport in Minnesota, and most schools to the east already have teams in place, Lindquist said.
Adding Lacrosse to the DHS sports lineup will be cost neutral to the school district, he said. The Lacrosse Association will cover the entire cost of the program, but it will run like a regular high school athletic program. A four-year contract will be signed each year. At the end of four years the program will be reviewed to see whether it could be funded by the school district or whether it would continued to be funded by the association.
FAREWELL TO BRASKET
School Board member Peter Brasket did not seek re-election, so Dec. 17 was his last School Board meeting. Board Chair Amy Johnson presented him with the school bell award in recognition of his eight and a half years of service to Delano Public Schools.
Board member Carolyn Milano said Brasket never backed down from hard issues. She called him a strong leader and said he had strength of character.