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Park Rapids approves levy with increase

Lance Bagstad has accepted the offer of superintendent of the Park Rapids School District.

The Park Rapids School Board approved a preliminary district levy of $5,346,794 at Monday night's meeting, a 10 percent - $491,634 - increase over last year's amount.

Superintendent Lance Bagstad stressed the amount is being fiscally conservative and the figures are preliminary. Increases in health and safety costs "skewed" the amount for 2013, he said. "And we expect adjustments from the state."

Bagstad and district business manager Carol Hutchinson compared preliminary figures from area districts, including Nevis' anticipated 12 percent increase in the preliminary levy from 2012, Sebeka's 9 percent increase, Menahga's 8 percent and Walker-Hackensack-Akeley's 4 percent.

The district will hold a Truth in Taxation meeting Monday, Dec. 3 when Bagstad said he plans to explain in detail the proposed levy. The final levy will be subsequently approved in December.

Bagstad reported meeting with the Frank White staff, commending the "wonderful" collaboration among the agencies and organizations. He also met with board members to hear thoughts and priorities.

He was invited to address a Progress Park Rapids meeting, where he spoke on the district's vision and "working with area organizations to provide opportunities for kids.

"I will continue to work with the administrative team on how we move forward," he said. "It's invigorating to know the potential."

In other action, the board:

n Approved Cammey Diederich as the new kindergarten teacher.

n Approved Carol Nelson as 8th Hour coordinator.

n Learned from Century School principal Joleen DeLaHunt that fall benchmark assessments are completed "to see where our kids are and what to do to move them forward."

She reported playground slides were vandalized and are in need of replacement.

Shawn Andress, Century assistant principal, said Read 180 has been implemented with special education students. It's meeting "great success" among the students who expressed a strong affinity for the new curriculum.

n Reported eighth graders will participate in the Character Challenge Course as a means of team building this year.

n High school principal Jeff Johnson reported meeting with seniors, challenging them to "create your year," through definitive actions for which they will be remembered.

n Assistant principal/ activities director John Schumacher commended coaches and parents for their work Saturday, when 25 buses arrived for students to compete in tennis, volleyball and a swim meet.

"Attendance is awesome and student participation is great," Schumacher said of the year's start.

He shared next week's Homecoming schedule that includes coronation at approximately 9:30 a.m. Monday.

A decorated car contest will be Friday, along with powder puff football, a pep fest and parade, beginning at approximately 2:10 p.m. The football game will begin at 6 p.m. with a dance from 8:30 to 11 p.m. The royal court will be introduced at half-time.

n Approved the first and second reading of the Internet Acceptable Use and Safety Policy, students and parents urged to become familiar with the document.

n Approved teacher lane changes for Angie Kuehn, Tom Coborn, Eric Hillesland, Steph Mercil, Denny Sleen and Jean Mayer.

n Reported enrollment, pre-kindergarten through grade 12 is at 1,531 students.