District 832 School Board actions

/ 18 April 2012 / jennifer

Kristine Goodrich, White Bear Press, April 18, 2012 –

Action and discussion at the Mahtomedi School Board meeting April 12 included the following:

• District administration is recommending $253,000 in budget cuts and revenue increases next school year. The board briefly reviewed the proposal last week, will discuss it in more depth at its next workshop meeting and likely will vote in May.

Proposed cuts include reductions in administration and support staffing. Projected new revenues include increases in student athletic and activity fees, and fees for out-of-district students to take online classes through the high school’s new Virtual Academy.

Superintendent Mark Larson said administration considered other measures that would yield more substantial savings, including increasing class sizes and charging some families for busing, but were able to achieve the needed budget adjustments via other measures.

“We are hitting our target with what we feel is the least impactful in the classroom,” Larson said.

• Bond refinancing will save the district more than $195,000. The district refinanced two bonds totaling $2.14 million on which it was paying 4 percent interest. United Bankers Bank submitted the low bid for new bonds at a less than 1.1 percent interest rate.

District officials and a financial advisor noted the district’s high AA credit rating was renewed, which helped it receive the better than expected refinancing offer.

• Approved a revised policy governing eligibility and application procedure for early admission to kindergarten. Four-year-olds who turn 5 between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31 may be admitted if they meet intelligence, academic readiness, social skills and other requirements.

• Approved a new health and safety policy and a 2012-13 health and safety program budget. The budget was set at nearly $113,000; that’s $1,000 more than budgeted this year. The budget is funded by a local property tax levy and the funds are used for capital projects, testing and staff time associated with health and safety.

A new state law requires districts to establish a health and safety policy. Mahtomedi’s policy is quite short, simply stating employees are required to follow all federal, state, local and district laws, codes and policies “for maintaining a safe and healthy environment.”

• Approved an agreement with the city of Mahtomedi allowing the district to transfer sewer and water fees it paid for the current Wildwood Elementary site to the new school site. The Metropolitan Council assesses sewer connection fees and cities assess water connection fees. The city is allowing the district to transfer credit for the fees the district paid at the old site to the new site, significantly reducing the district’s fees on the new site.

The transfer means the future buyer of the old site will have to pay a significant amount of fees; the agreement requires the district to disclose that fact to potential buyers.

• Accepted two donations: $1,000 from an anonymous donor to the girls swim team and more than $900 from Kramer-Berg American Legion Post 507 to the Senior Program.

• Approved two retirements, effective in June: guidance secretary Linda Seebeck and high school biology teacher Barbara Hertel.

— Kristine Goodrich