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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • School board sets pay 2014 levy

  • When it comes to school financing, things are a bit different than they are for other local units of government. A school district’s fiscalyear 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...
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  • 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
    Page 2 of 3 - 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.
    Page 3 of 3 - 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.

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