The Park Rapids School Board approved the district’s revenues and expenditures budget for fiscal years 2021 and 2022 on Monday, Nov. 15.

Business manager Kent Fritze explained that the 2021 budget represents audit results for the 2020-21 school year, while the 2022 numbers are a preliminary budget for the current school year.

Supporting documentation shows that during fiscal 2021, ending June 30, the district’s revenues and transfers-in totaled $25,861,461 and expenditures and transfers-out totaled $25,926,322, including general fund revenues of about $20.5 million and expenditures of about $20.8 million.

Meanwhile, the district’s total fund balances dipped slightly, from about $12.76 million to $12.7 million; and its long-term indebtedness shrank from about $17.9 million to $15.8 million.

During the past fiscal year, the budget summary states, the district’s operating expenditures totaled $22,825,865. Divided by an adjusted enrollment total of 1,626 students, that’s an operating cost of $14,036 per student.

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For the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2022, the budget predicts revenues and transfers-in totaling $24,670,996, including $18.9 million to the general fund, and expenditures and transfers-out totaling $24,753,241, including $19.7 million from the general fund. An overall fund balance of $12.6 million is projected for the end of the fiscal year.

Fritze reminded the school board a truth-in-taxation hearing will be held at the board’s Dec. 20 meeting and that the school improvement bond that passed on Nov. 2 will change the budget numbers for next year.

Fritze also reported that food prices are going up. “Normally, we’d be paying between $10,000 and $11,000 every couple weeks,” he said, adding that it’s now $15,000 to $20,000.

Finally, Fritze reported that a federal mandate from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, requiring that employers of more than 10 workers require their employees either to be vaccinated or to wear masks and submit weekly test results, goes into effect on Jan. 4, 2022. However, he said, the mandate is being challenged in court by 27 states, not including Minnesota.

Among various other staff reports, the school board heard from Principal Mike LeMier that Century Elementary School was out of printer toner for several weeks, forcing teachers to find creative alternatives.

Building and grounds supervisor Alan Vanderstad reported that a concrete foundation was poured for a new well pump shed to replace one built on dirt that was falling down.

In consent items and general business, the school board:

  • Received an enrollment update, showing that K-12 enrollment as of Nov. 11 was 1,609 students, only two less than on Oct. 14. Meanwhile, total enrollment including preschool, Alternative Learning Center and virtual academy students remained at 1,757.

  • Approved the 2021-23 labor contracts with district office staff, buildings and grounds supervisor Alan Vanderstad and special education director Eva Pohl. The district office staff contract covers four positions, including payroll, accounts payable, human resources and an administrative assistant.

  • Approved a joint purchase-for-service for a school psychologist with the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley school district and a contract with Sue Cutler as school psychologist.

  • Approved an updated PAWN Special Education agreement to include the Up North Learning Center in Walker.

  • Acknowledged summer and fall donations totaling $28,786 from the Park Rapids Education and Activities Foundation. Summer allocations totaled $15,152, including $1,000 for the BPA fall leadership conference, $1,320 for girls tennis equipment, $3,000 for football uniforms, $2,500 for cross country uniforms, $1,500 for volleyball software and $4,800 for track and field equipment. Fall allocations totaled $13,634 and included $5,000 for a basketball shooting machine, $2,500 for FFA convention costs, $1,000 for BPA conference registration, $2,500 for Esports, $950 for gymnastics balance beam padding and $1,500 for a boys hockey skate sharpener.

  • Recognized students who went to state in girls tennis and cross country.

  • Accepted the resignation of Adam Gudmundson as a bus driver.

  • Posted two positions as elementary special education paraprofessional.

  • Approved payments presented for November, totaling $1,386,308.

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