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Park Rapids School District looks to extend existing levy referendum

The Park Rapids School District will ask voters to approve an extension of the existing referendum when it comes due in 2012.

"We're asking voters to support an extension of the current referendum, no more, no less," said Superintendent Glenn Chiodo.

The Park Rapids School Board approved the resolution calling for the question to appear on the Nov. 2 ballot. The referendum would extend the five-year levy at the same amount of $600 per resident pupil unit.

"It would then just start at the end of this referendum. It doesn't start or stop anything," he said.

Chiodo said projections show the dollar amount would be slightly less for taxpayers because of an increased tax base.

The taxes are projected to be $97 in 2012 on a $100,000 home, which is $1 less than the current levy. On a $150,000 home, taxes are projected to be $145, or $2 less than the current levy.

"The question was asked ... if this was enough or where should we be?" Chiodo said. "We're still below the state average."

Ninety percent of Minnesota school districts now receive referendum revenue, with a state average of $826 per pupil unit in 2010.

"We're still below the state average but given everything that's going on with the economy, I think it behooves us just to stay right where we're at," Chiodo said. "We'll still need to make some tough decisions this spring. This won't solve all the ills."

He hopes the community will be receptive because it is a continuation and there won't be any changes.

"To us it's about a million dollar swing," he said. "Without it, you can just take a million dollars right off the top.

In other business, the board:

n Back to school packets were being sent out to parents and students this week, Chiodo said. It includes information about late buses and other activities.

High School principal Jeff Johnson said he wants to remind the public that school starts Tuesday, Sept. 7. He has heard rumors that school wasn't starting until late October. This isn't true, he said.

He also encourages new students to the area to register as soon as possible. They can go to Frank White Education Center to register before school starts.

n Approved an aid anticipation resolution. The resolution provides for the sale of general obligation and anticipation certificates. Business manager Carol Hutchinson said this is something the district does each year for cash flow due to delayed state payments.

n Approved the second reading and adoption of the High School handbook, Century Elementary School handbook, Century Middle School handbook and Activities handbook.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
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