When it comes to school financing, things are a bit different than they are for other local units of government. A school district’s fiscal
year actually starts July 1 and ends the following final day of June. So, when John Sellevold, Redwood Area School District finance director, talked about the budget at the Truth in Taxation hearing this past Monday night, he was referring to the revenues
and expenses for the current year.

When it comes to school financing, things are a bit different than they are for other local units of government. A school district’s fiscal
year actually starts July 1 and ends the following final day of June. So, when John Sellevold, Redwood Area School District finance director, talked about the budget at the Truth in Taxation hearing this past Monday night, he was referring to the revenues
and expenses for the current year.
However, when it comes
to the levy the Redwood
Area Board of Education
sets each year around this
time, those dollars are for
the following school year.
This Monday the school
board approved the payable
2014 total property tax levy
at $2,520,298.98, which
reflects a 4.32 percent increase
over the payable
2013 levy.
The current budget was
approved this past June,
said Sellevold, adding that
budget continues to be
updated during the year to
reflect changes in finances.
According to Sellevold,
approximately 80 percent of
the school’s budget comes
in the form of state aid, with
11 percent coming from
property taxpayers. Federal
aid makes up about 5 percent
of the budget revenue.
When it comes to the
expenses side of the budget,
Sellevold said about 74 percent
of what is paid out is
salaries and benefits, with
purchased services making
up about 18 percent.
(Sellevold explained purchased
services include
everything from bus services
to building utilities.)
The debt service levy
makes up about 10 percent
of the expenditures for the
district each year.
The payable levy for 2014
includes an increase of
approximately $59,259 in
the general fund, with a
$9,209 increase in the community
service fund. There is
also an increase of $35,910
in debt redemption over
what was paid this year.
The total levy increase is
$104,378 for next year.
Sellevold said the referendum
levy actually decreased
for 2014 by about $110,000,
with one of the biggest increases
in the post-employment
benefits levy.

Sellevold said there
were a number of
retirements this past
year, which is reflected
in that increase.
There was also a
new levy created by the
state legislature this
year, which is called
student achievement.
According to Sellevold,
the levy is a reinstatement
of the uniform
general education
levy which was eliminated
in 2000 when the
state opted to cover
general education
costs. The levy represents
.35 percent of net
tax capacity, with that
money replacing general
education aid.
The safe schools
levy increased by $4
per pupil unit, which
increased that levy by
just over $4,000.
In other action during
its meeting this past
Monday, the board:
• Entered into a new
two-year agreement
with the City of Redwood
Falls for the
school resources officer
at a cost of $42,000
per year. For that
amount, the district is
going to have the
resource officer on its
grounds four days each
week, with the city utilizing
the officer the fifth
day of the week.
A sub-committee of
the school board met
with the city Oct. 28 to
discuss several options
regarding this position.
The coverage is a
contract for 140 days.
The district has discussed
this position at
length in recent months
determining the lack of
funding to cover the
costs of the program
meant trying to find
alternative financing.
It was hoped action
at the legislature this
past session would
have resulted in added
dollars in the safe
schools levy, but the $4
increase did not meet
the needs of the program
for the district.
According to Jim
Buckley, school board
chair, there has been
some discussion about
using health and safety
levy dollars in the future
to help cover costs
of school resource officers
in schools, but that
is another policy
change that would
have to be done at the
legislative level.
The hope is the
issue is brought up during
the 2014 session in
St. Paul.
Rick Ellingworth,
RASD superintendent,
reemphasized the fact
that the school district
is going to have to
make some security
upgrades in the near
future as the current
safety equipment is
scheduled for replacement.
That, he said, is
going to require significant
dollars.
Ellingworth said the
new contract gives the
school district an
opportunity over a twoyear
period to determine
whether or not
this is a program that is
really needed.
Ellingworth said
there were conversations
with private security
representatives, but
that kind of coverage
was not what the district
was looking for.
A specific list of
duties has been developed
to better utilize
the officer when they
are at the school.
• Approved the
agreement for the provision
of the Lutheran
Social Services senior
nutrition program for
the Redwood Falls
United Senior Center.
• Accepted the resignation
of Carol Gewerth
as School Aged Child
Care (SACC) para.
• Approved the
employment of Gwen
Harrington as school
patrol advisor at a
stipend of $2,276, Amy
Grund as sixth grade
Math Masters coach at
a stipend of $340, Nikki
Berry and Shelby
Helgeson as cheerleading
co-advisors at
a stipend of $356 each,
Mark Buyck as fifth
grade Math Masters
coach at a stipend of
$340, Brayden Kvistero
as junior high wrestling
coach at a stipend of
$1,146, Jeff Bommersbach
as junior high
wrestling assistant
coach at a stipend of
$509 and Joni Nieland
as One-Act play director
at a stipend of
$1,267.
• Approved an employment
agreement
with Tami Riley, who
serves as the Redwood
Area Education Foundation
director, which
reflects $1,000, increasing
the salary to
$12,000 each year.
• Heard that its QComp
application has
been received by the
Minnesota Department
of Education, and a letter
sent to the school
district offers some
suggestions for revisions.
Once those revisions
have been made,
the district is going to
resubmit its application.
• Voted to move its
December regular
meeting to Dec. 19.