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BEA sets proposed levy increase at the max

By Staff | Sep 17, 2017

The property tax levy amount within the Blue Earth School District was a key point of emphasis at the latest BEA School Board meeting. The board carried a motion to approve the proposed 2017 property tax levy payable in 2018 at the maximum amount allowed by the state of Minnesota.

At the suggestion of superintendent Evan Gough, the board did not set an exact dollar amount in place for the levy. Gough cited heavy fluctuation in the levy amount at this time last year as his reasoning for not wanting to settle on a specific number.

“Last year between September and December, our levy amount was changed 10 times by the Minnesota Department of Education,” Gough explained. “Setting a dollar amount now would lock everything in, and that can create issues between now and December.

“A lot of the levy is dependent upon student enrollment, which can fluctuate,” Gough continued.

A dollar amount for the levy will be agreed upon during December’s Truth and Taxation meeting. According to Gough, local property taxes make up approximately 10 percent of total revenue within the school district.

Gough also updated the board on key summer maintenance projects during the meeting. Tuck pointing on the elementary building is still on-going. Meanwhile, the roofing project over the academic wing of BEA High School and the K-7 kitchen remodeling project have both been completed.

Additional construction will continue with these projects into next summer. Superintendent Gough expressed great satisfaction with the overall construction efforts of these projects.

Other items from the meeting included:

The 2017-2018 Literacy Plan was approved by the board. This updated plan covers the Elementary Title I Program.

New hirings, which include custodian Corey Butler and special education paraprofessionals Vonda Shile, Stacy Cole, Terina Skelton, and Karen Zabel, were authorized by the School Board.

The hiring of Early Childhood Family Education teacher Chelsea Volz was already approved at the last meeting, but was re-approved due to an increase in pay and benefits.

The resignation of high school head cook Michelle Berndt, custodian Peter Miller, and cook’s helpers Cory White and Judy Bassett were all approved by the board.

The board also approved the lane changes of 17 BEA teachers: Robyn Beach-Olson, Luke Beyer, Ingrid Chrisman, Allison Dallager, Michelle Ehlers, Keli Enser, Carissa Maday, Marnie Norman, Sara Rothmeier, Sue Schoenfelder, Kim Sickler, Elizabeth Stallman, Mathias Sturtz, Chelsea Thayer, Jennifer Zierke, Stephanie Thielfoldt, and Lindsay Johnson.

School Board member Amber Patten received a Leadership Development Certificate. This award is presented upon completion of the three phases of the Minnesota School Board Association leadership workshop series.

The next School Board meeting will take place on Oct. 16.