The Park Rapids School Board on Monday approved the maximum school property tax levy payable in 2021.

According to business manager Kent Fritze, the certified 2020 levy was $5,388,125 and the proposed 2021 levy is $5,395,660, an increase of $7,535.49 or 0.14 percent.

Fritze told the school board that most school districts set their preliminary proposed levy at the maximum because it can decrease, but not increase, later in the fiscal year.

Superintendent Lance Bagstad presented Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker’s review and comment about the district’s proposed bonding referendum.

Calling it a positive response, Bagstad told the school board about the next steps required to put two questions on the November ballot.

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The first question will ask voters to approve a $54.5 million bond issue to improve school facilities. The second ballot question, contingent on the first question being approved, would raise another $3.715 million to replace the school bus garage and Century School tennis courts.

Enrollment review

Bagstad reported approximately 20 percent of the district’s students are enrolled in distance learning, and about 5 percent are being homeschooled.

He said this is similar to the percentages observed across northwestern Minnesota, and voiced hope that homeschooled students will return to the public schools.

“Our enrollment is still holding strong,” he said, citing a 1,577 student count in grades K-12.

Principals Mike LeMier, Shawn Andress and Jeff Johnson also told the school board they are planning for virtual parent-teacher conferences in October.

In consent items and general business, the school board:

  • Approved a plan for distance learning and e-learning days (for inclement weather).

  • Approved a winter coaches list as follows: boys basketball head coach Josh Meader, assistants Jamie Nordick and Noah Bone, junior high coaches Michael Heise and “to be determined” (TBD); girls basketball head coach Nic Lembcke, assistants Josh Yliniemi and Rebecca Grant, junior high coaches Andrew Lachowitzer and Concha Uzozie; boys swimming head coach Megan Helms, assistants Sarah Heise and TBD; gymnastics head coach Cyrus Gust, assistants Matthew Backmann and TBD; wrestling head coach Matt Clark, assistants Jeff Dravis and TBD, junior high coach Mike Baumgartner, assistants Brett Bishop and Dan Etter; boys hockey head coach Derek Ricke, assistants Sam Coborn and Jared Naeve; speech head coach Tanya Miller, assistant Leandra Craigmile, junior high coach Emily Schueller; winter play director Abigail Sellnow, technical director Victoria Harju. Bishop, Etter and the TBD wrestling assistant coach are paid by the Booster club.

  • Approved teachers’ fall lane changes as follows: Savannah Lunak, BA/3 to BA10/3; John Brumback, BA/3 to BA20/3; Abigail Jasmer, BA/8 to MA/8; Brianna Anderson, BA10/7 to BA30/7; Jennifer Jackson, BA10/11 to BA20/11; Megan Rykhus, BA20/4 to MA/4; T.J. Erickson and Kayla Kuhn, BA20/5 to MA/5; Chelsie Weeding, BA20/6 to MA/6; Dan Etter, BA20/7 to MA/7; Christine Sauer, BA20/8 to BA30/8; Kristi Goochey, BA30/2 to BA40/2; Shalom Grandy, BA40/8 to MA/8; Rita Southerton, MA/3 to MA20/3; Kristen Poehler, MA/7 to MA10/7; Molly Kaiser, MA/7 to MA20/7; Rebecca Penning, MA10/9 to MA20/9; Todd Fritze, MA10/12 to MA30/12; Emilee Edelman, MA20/6 to MA30/6; Ky Deblieck and Jaime Morse, MA20/8 to MA30/8; Steph Mercil, MA20/12 to MA30/12; Brianne Morris, MA30/11 to MA45/11; Jen Corbin, MA30/12 to MA45/10; Allison Baumgartner, Cami Brand, Josh Cook, Leah Hilmanowski, Angie Kuehn, Dawn Penning and Jodi Trinka-Erickson, MA30/12 to MA45/12.

  • Hired Lexi Stevenson as an elementary paraprofessional effective Sept. 14, and Mike Sopcyk as an elementary teacher effective Sept. 16.

  • Approved payments presented for September, totaling $1,053,241.

The school board’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5 at the Frank White Education Center.