The Park Rapids School Board on Monday, Sept. 20 approved the district’s 2021 payable 2022 property tax levy at the maximum limit allowed by state law.

According to the figures provided by the Minnesota Department of Education, the proposed levy includes approximately $2.41 million for the general fund, $195,000 for community services and $2.47 million for general debt service – a total of $5,075,105.

Business Manager Kent Fritze said these preliminary figures could change within the next few weeks, but probably not by much.

“Right now, we’re about $300,000 down from last year,” he said – a decrease of about 5.94 percent. He cited enrollment figures and debt service payments as some reasons for the decrease.

Fritze said the final levy will be certified in December.

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“So, nothing is set in stone until then,” said board chair Sherry Safratowich.

School board member Stephanie Carlson moved to approve the proposed levy, and the motion passed unanimously.

In consent items and general business, the school board:

  • Approved the resignation of English as a Second Language paraprofessional Caroline Koch.

  • Accepted the retirement of transportation supervisor Cindy Leach with regret and thanks for her 24 years of service to the school district. Safratowich called it a huge job and said Leach’s successor will have big shoes to fill.

  • Hired Bethany Kern as a paraprofessional and Ashley Hensel as a volunteer junior high tennis coach.

  • Approved a 2021-23 labor agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

  • Approved election judges and set their compensation for the district’s Nov. 2 special school bonding election. Safratowich said the judges will be paid $15 per hour.

  • Received an enrollment review showing that as of Sept. 20, the school had 63 pre-K students, 30 early childhood students, 23 students in the high school Alternative Learning Center, 614 in grades K-4, 499 in grades 5-8 and 506 in grades 9-12, a K-12 total of 1,619 students and a districtwide total of 1,735.

  • Heard from interim director Jill Stevenson that the district’s virtual academy has 22 students.

  • Heard Superintendent Lance Bagstad report that the district is gathering input from the community about how to use its share of the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund.

  • Heard Principal Jeff Johnson report that recent rains revealed ceiling leaks in three high school classrooms.

  • Heard Director Jill Dickinson report that the Community Education program is partnering with kinship to use donated funds to plan parent-child trips.

  • Heard from Activity Director Jeremy Nordick that upcoming volleyball and football games will be broadcast with announcers on the Magnitude Sports Media Network.

  • Acknowledged donations including $2,000 from the Wolf Lake Baseball Club to the schools’ band department and backpacks and school supplies from North Memorial Ambulance to the high school.

  • Approved lane changes for Elizabeth Aman, Brianna Anderson, Matt Brandt, John Brumback, Kathryn Buckholtz, Val Burton, Meghan Eidsmoe, Elise Erickson, TJ Erickson, Michael Hartung, Nicole Johnson, Dannon Kietzman, Brianna Kirchner, Chris Kirchner, Sara Kovach, Kayla Kuhn, Michael Lorden, Savannah Lunak, Rebecca Penning, Danielle Perry, Kristen Poehler, Patrick Richard, Christine Sauer, Tina Schultz, Lexi Skajewski, Rita Southerton, Autumn Sturtz, Sara Thorson and Brent Vandal.

  • Approved payments presented for September, totaling $1,006,730.

The school board’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 4 at the Frank White Education Center.