New Ulm School Board to discuss levy, building sale

/ 11 July 2012 / jennifer

Amanda Dyslin, Mankato Free Press, July 11, 2012 –

NEW ULM — In a study session Thursday night, the New Ulm Public School Board will discuss a possible operating levy on the November ballot, as well as a building sale that could net the district up to $100,000 for its construction and building maintenance fund.

Supt. Harold Remme said the board will have an open discussion about whether to ask for a per-pupil operating levy. The amount has yet to be determined, Remme said. The board will go over financial data, historical research on area levy referendums, and the potential impact on the district budget, as well as local property taxes, he said.

The board has until Aug. 23 to decide on whether to try for the levy during the Nov. 6 election, but the matter may be voted on at the July 26 board meeting.

The levy discussion follows months of budget turmoil that led to $1.1 million in cuts last spring. The cuts were to activity programs, personnel and transportation, among other things. Ten full-time teaching positions, including classroom and special education teachers, were included.

The fate of the District Administration Center will also be talked about tonight. Currently the district offices are housed in the former middle school, which was closed in 2006 due to facility and maintenance issues.

“We feel that it’s time for a decision to be made as to whether it should be repurposed for other community use,” Remme said. “If it will remain in our ownership, then we have some maintenance issues.”

Most of the issues have to do with fire codes, such as fire doors and a sprinkler system, Remme said.

The district has received four bids to purchase the building, ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. But Remme said the board also will look at contingencies attached to each bid before deciding which offer to take, if they choose to sell at all.

Any proceeds from the building go into a dedicated fund for district construction and building maintenance needs and cannot be used for daily operations.

Remme said the district is only using 25 percent of the space in the building.

“It’s more space than we can adequately use,” he said.

The board will vote on the building sale at the July 26 meeting, Remme said.

The study session is 5 p.m. today JSpear 7/11/12 (Thursday) at the District Administration Center board room.