Earlier this year the Redwood Area Board of Education set the preliminary tax levy for 2020 at the maximum allowed under the limits which were established by the Minnesota Department of Education.

Following its Truth in Taxation public hearing held Nov. 25 and presented by Tom Anderson, school finance director, the board certified the tax levy for 2020.

That levy includes a 2.58 percent increase over the levy in 2019, or $3,659,885.29. The total increase for the 2020 levy is $91,909 more than was levied in 2019.

The levy includes a 4.28 percent increase ($76,150) allocated to the general fund, a total of $1,856,803, and a 1.45 percent increase for debt redemption ($24,375) or a total of $1,703,048.24 for 2020.

The community service fund levy includes a 7.87 percent decrease for 2020 ($8,616 less than 2019) for a total levy of $100,834.

During the hearing, Anderson also talked about the current school district budget, which began July 1, 2019 and continues through June 30, 2020. It is made up of local levy dollars collected, as well as funding from other sources.

The breakdown includes 21 percent collected locally and 79 percent from sources, such as state and federal funding, as well as grants and fees.

The certified levy includes the voter approved funds in the amount of $252,343.59, as well as the $1.7 million in debt service. It also includes the $100,000 for community service, as well as approximately $1.6 million for a variety of funds, such as student achievement and integration, health and safety, long-term facility maintenance and lease levy.

That includes $107,997 for alternative teacher compensation, as well as $23,672 for service cooperative special education facility leasing costs.

A majority of the budget’s expenses are spent on salaries, wages and benefits. 

“We are in the people business,” said Anderson, adding 74 percent of the district’s expenses are in that category.

The board officially certified levy.

No one from the public attended the hearing.

In other action during its meeting, the school board:

• Heard that the school district received a clean opinion on its 2018-19 audit and approved the audit as presented.

• Authorized the submission of a $10,000 grant application through the Minnesota Department of Education. If the request is approved, the funds would be used to provide training for early childhood staff as they help prepare students for their first day of Kindergarten.

• Accepted the resignation of Joleen MacHolda from her position as a Kindergarten paraprofessional effective as of Dec. 3, 2019.

• Approved the employment of Tyler Fish as the head softball coach with a stipend of $4,658.

• Approved the employment of three long-term substitutes for the early childhood special education birth to three-year-old program, including Lindy Kaden and Holly Larsen at a rate of $235 per day and Teri Smith at a rate of $275 per day.