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PR school levy down 6.08%

BY Anna Erickson

The Park Rapids Area School Board approved the 2014-15 school year tax levy at a decrease from 2013-14.

The final levy was approved at $5,021,546. This breaks down to $3,001,478 for debt service and $2,020,068 for all other levies. The 2013-14 levy was $5,346,336.

“Our taxpayers are saving some money,” Superintendent Lance Bagstad said.

Business manager Carol Hutchinson explained that part of the reason for the decrease is a Legislative change that made it possible for the district to transfer $300 of the $600 per pupil unit referendum to a board approved levy.

This resulted in an additional $185,277.91 in aid for 2014-15.

She explained that other Legislative changes could potentially hurt the district, however.

The state is changing the way it weighs pupil units. The old law would have meant an estimated 1,939.58 pupil units for the 2014-15 school year. With the new weighting system, the estimate is 1,834.20 pupil units.

The decrease in pupil units means that the referendum is calculated differently. It would mean $709 per student instead of $600, Hutchinson said.

Another Legislative change regarding funding means that Park Rapids is among 127 school districts in the state that won’t receive some funding because of its size.

Schools with 640 pupil units or less and schools with 2,200 pupil units or more will receive aid. Park Rapids is caught in the middle, Hutchinson said.

Bagstad has been talking with legislators about this and hopes something will be done at the next session to make it fair.

Hutchinson also reviewed the 2014-15 budget.