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School Tax Levy for Payable 2019

School Matters (submitted for Publication in the Roseau Times Region on Dec. 29, 2018)

By:  Larry Guggisberg – Roseau Supt. of Schools

School Tax Levy & Budget Addressed by School Board

School Finances made up a good portion of the regular December School Board meeting.

The Roseau Board of Education unanimously approved a 2019 property tax levy that is 3.33 percent ($88,129.31) less than the 2018 actual property tax levy during their December 10th regular Board meeting.  School taxes payable in 2019 were certified at $2,561,445.46.

Revenue from the levy is channeled into three different funds: the school district’s general fund, debt service to pay voter-approved school bonds, and community education.  There are many factors that go into calculating a school tax levy.  In its simplest form, the amount of money school districts can levy is based on state-calculated formulas and voter-approved ballot questions on the sort of operating and / or school bond referendums. The Board-approved school tax levy for taxes payable in 2019 will be used in the 2019-2020 school budget year.

The Board amended the current (2018-2019) estimated school budget which was given preliminary approval in June 2018.  The current school budget indicates total revenues of $16. 6 million and estimated expenses of nearly $16.3 million.  In summary, the 2018-2019 estimated school budget will be a reflective of the following conditions:  an estimated increase in enrollment of 2 (two) students from the previous school year and corresponding general education funding associated with K-12 enrollment; includes a 2% revenue increase in the State general education aid per pupil formula as an outcome the 2017 MN Legislature which increased funding from $6,188 to $6,312 per pupil over the previous year;  and  includes the revenue from an operating referendum passed by school district voters in November 2015.  The current year budget also includes the School District’s obligation to pay estimated operating costs such as utilities, insurance, fuel, and all costs of employee labor agreements. 

The school district is in a good financial position in that it has an unreserved fund balance of nearly $1.9 million which represents about six weeks of general school operations.  Moving forward, the District is committed to continue to be diligent with its finances to maintain a solid financial condition.

          Also included in the Board meeting was continued discussion on a potential school renovation / building project.  Construction of the majority of high school buildings dates from 1930 to 1968.   Over the past year or so, Board discussion has included addressing aging school infrastructure (eg:  heating, electrical), space adequacy including handicap access in the high school, miscellaneous maintenance & up-grades due to aging conditions in the Elementary School (built in 1993) and the Science Wing (built in 1996) and security insufficiencies in both the high school and elementary school.

          As a part of an effort towards exploring a school building renovation and / or replacement project, various staff and Board members attended school site tours at schools in Wadena, Perham, Alexandria and Thief River Falls.

School Board meetings in November and December had nearly 50 students from Mr. Tyler Landman’s 9th Grade Civics classes attending the meetings.   In front of a large audience and in its final Board action, the board recognized outgoing board chairman Todd Brandt for his 4 years of service and former Board Chair Stuart McFarlane who served on the School Board for sixteen years.  Newly elected Board members Jodee Haugen and Tim Fugelberg were both in attendance at the last Board meeting of the calendar year.  HAPPY HOLIDAYS and GO RAMS!