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NR school board approves 2013-14 tax levy, budget

At the New Richmond School District Board of Education’s Oct. 28 meeting, Brian Johnston, director of Fiscal and Building Operations, reported to the board that the district would be able to cut almost $1 million from the 2013-14 tax levy, which brought the final levy amount down to $13,084,601.

“We are actually going to underspend that by $1 million this year,” Johnston said. “We are under levying about $1 million this year. That should help people locally. We will probably have to bounce that back up next year, but that will be for next year’s board to decide at that time. This is the first time we have ever done this.”

Johnston told the board that the district would be receiving a little more than $21 million in state aid, which was up from what the board had originally planned for. The revenue limit is set at $28.817 million, which the district will be able to underspend by $1 million.

“We are one of the 32 lowest-spending districts in the state,” Johnston said.

Another factor in the drop in the levy amount was the schools enrollment being less than the board had budgeted for, but still being up from last year’s numbers.

“The legislature threw more money into the formula late, they had given DPI two weeks to get their work done to recertify the new amount and our district received just a little over $118,000 more with the recertification,” Johnston said. “And there is more in the pot for next year as well. That lowered the levy a little bit from the annual meeting amount. Also, DPI also estimates a little low on their numbers in July, so that reduced the levy a little further from the amount at the annual meeting.”

A motion to approve the 2013-14 levy amount and the budget carried unanimously. The final levy amount is down 7.1 percent from last year.

The board also passed a motion to move the final remaining balance of the referendum money and settlements from the Capital Project Fund to Debt Services, while also closing out the fund and bank accounts. The remaining balance was $55,144, which will now go toward the Debt Services fund.

Also decided at the meeting was the approval of a staff request for Hillside Elementary, as well as the approval of grant money to be used for the Youth Options program at the high school.

The board also accepted the retirement of Human Resources Administrative Assistant LouAnn Derosier and thanked her for her time with the school district.

“We certainly thank LouAnn for her services,” Superintendent Jeff Moberg said. “We have kind of started the process of posting the job and looking for applications for the position. There are a number of duties that she fulfilled and we would like to extend our congratulations to her and our thanks for her service to our district.”

<B>Other Business:<B>

-The board approved a motion to hire 14 new employees throughout the district, as well as the transfers and reassignments of seven employees.

-The board approved a motion to approve six grants and gifts given to the school for various amounts and purposes.

-The board approved a motion to make a small change to the language of the employee handbook.

-The board met in a closed session to end the meeting, but took no action on the topics discussed.

The board will meet again at 7 p.m. on Nov. 18.

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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