PR School Board sets tax levy at maximum

The preliminary levy can only be adjusted downward, before the final levy is set at a Truth in Taxation meeting in December.

The Park Rapids School Board on Monday approved a preliminary 2019/payable 2020 property tax levy at the maximum amount permitted by state law.

Business Manager Kent Fritze explained that most school districts set their preliminary levy at the maximum, as levy amounts can only be adjusted downward.

The levy will be finalized at the district’s Truth in Taxation meeting in December, Fritze said.

“This also goes out to the county auditors and the Minnesota Department of Education so they can calculate the amount that can be taxed within the county and how much aid will be coming from the state,” he said.

Proposed levy amounts included $2,503,798 for general fund, $196,860 for community services and $2,687,467 for debt service. The total preliminary levy is $5,388,125.


In consent items and general business, the school board:

  • Approved payments for September totaling $714,386.

  • Acknowledged a $1,926 donation from Kimball Logging to the Century School Media Center, and other donations.

  • Approved the distance learning/e-learning plan for the 2019-20 school year. The two planned distance learning days are Oct. 17 and Jan. 22, 2020. Unplanned e-learning days may be assigned in case of a school closure.

  • Hired Wendy Mitchell, cooks helper; Jodi Sullivan, recess supervisor; Sarah Heise, assistant boys swimming coach; and Charlie Arvik, bus driver.

  • Approved volunteer Katie Eischens, girls swimming coach.

  • Approved the resignations of Walt Harrison, head girls golf coach; Nicole Eischens, assistant gymnastics coach; J.T. Luther, assistant baseball coach; and Tina Ridlon, junior high girls basketball coach.

  • Approved a four-year leave of absence without pay for Eric Pilgrim, effective 2020-21 school year.

  • Posted the position of middle school Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant literacy coach.

  • Updated the list of winter 2019-20 coaches to include boys basketball head coach Matt Brandt, assistant coaches Josh Meader and Mike Lorden and junior high coaches Garrett Kovach and Michael Heise; girls basketball head coach Jeff Overmyer, assistant coaches Nic Lembcke and Concha Uzozie and junior high coaches Andrew Lachowitzer and Christina Ridlon; boys swimming head coach Megan Helms; gymnastics head coach Cyrus Gust and assistant coach Matthew Backmann; wrestling head coach Matt Clark, assistant coaches Jeff Dravis and Dan Pike, junior high coach Mike Baumgartner and assistant coaches Brett Bishop and Dan Etter; boys hockey head coach Derek Ricke and assistant coaches Sam Coborn and Tyler Lehrke; speech head coach Tanya Miller, volunteer coach Leandra Craigmile and junior high coach Emily Schueller; and winter play director Abigail Sellnow and tech director Victoria Harju.

  • Approved lane changes for Jennifer Corbin (MA20/9 to MA30/9), Ky DeBlieck (MA10/7 to MA20/7), Emilee Edelman (MA10/5 to MA20/5), Kirsten Edevold (MA20/12 to MA30/12), T.J. Erickson (BA/4 to BA10/4), Todd Fritze (MA/12 to MA10/12), Alicia Hillesland (MA10/9 to MA20/9), Molly Kaiser (BA20/6 to MA/6), Carolyn Melchert (BA30/2 to BA40/2), Steph Mercil (MA10/12 to MA20/12), Brianne Morris (MA20/10 to MA30/10), Jill Stevenson (MA30/12 to MA45/12), Kayla Stursa (BA/4 to BA10/4), Gabe Sturtz (MA10/5 to MA20/5), Sara Thorson (BA10/11 to BA20/11), Chelsie Weeding (BA/5 to BA10/5), Dan Etter (BA/6 to BA20/6) and Sarah Heise (BA20/5 to MA/5).

  • Received an enrollment report as of Sept. 12, showing a 15-student decrease in K-12 enrollment since school started on Sept. 3. High School Principal Jeff Johnson, whose student population went down by eight during that period, explained that enrollment typically fluctuates during the first few weeks of the school year. Total K-12 enrollment on Sept. 12 was 1,600, with 59 pre-K, 35 early childhood and 34 Alternative Learning Center students making the district-wide total 1,729.

  • Approved the 2019-20 program and services agreement with Sourcewell.

  • Approved the district’s 2019-20 Assurance of Compliance with State and Federal Laws.

  • Designated Superintendent Lance Bagstad as the district’s Identified Official with Authority for the Minnesota Department of Education External User Access Recertification System, with district secretary Kim Splett authorized to add and remove names only.

  • Approved the first reading of policies about procurement standards and the use of school district facilities and equipment.

  • Approved the second reading of job descriptions for special diets cook and recess monitor.

The school board’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7 in the Frank White Education Center.

Related Topics: EDUCATION
Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at or 218-252-3053.
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