The St. James School Board met Monday night ands acted on several issues.
One of the primary actions taken by the Board was the passage of the proposed levy for fiscal year 2014. The amount approved was $1,729,553. The vote passing the levy was 5-0. Board member Mark Anderson was not in attendance.
This number represents a dollar increase of $117,709 over the actual levy in the fiscal year 2013. This is a 7.3% increase.
Prior to the Board approving this levy, the School Board held a truth and taxation hearing which preceeded the formal board meeting.
Most of that meeting was devoted to a presentation explaining how the propose levy was developed and the state laws that control and regulate the development of tax levy by school boards.
This explanation was delivered by Betsy Knoche from Ehlers, which is the firm the District has a relationship with regarding matters of public finance.
Knoche made a detailed presentation that lasted about a half hour that provided background on school funding, property tax levies and budgets in general.
Delving into the St. James District’s numbers, Knoche went into the District’s budget and the proposed tax levy.
St. James School District Superintendent Becky Cselovszki said the presentation would be on the School District’s website sometime next week.
There were no questions from the audience on the presentation or the passing of the tax levy. There were few members of the public at the meeting.
In other new business the Board approved the accepting gifts and bequests in the amount of $11,894. In her monthly report, Mary Richard from the business office submitted the bills to be approved at this meeting. The Board approved the payment of bills totalling $1,141,570.43.
The Board approved several contracts or contractual adjustments.
The Board approved a memorandum of understanding pertaining to an early retirement incentive that will be made eligible to the teachers bargaining unit. The retirement incentive would be effective at the end of the 2012-2013 school year.
The Board also approved accepting grant money that will be used for the purchase of a commercial kitchen incubator that will be located in the Armstrong School cafeteria.
This is part of a project being developed along with the Economic Development Authority of the City of St. James.
The Board also approved a memorandum of understanding with the EDA and the City on this project.
Page 2 of 2 - In another area, the Board approved a memorandum of understanding that is between St. James High School and the University of Minnesota for the purpose of conducting a breakfast study. The objective of the study is it evaluate whether a program designed to improve participation in the school breakfast program in high school is effective.
Northside Principal Karla Beck reported on the School Improvement Grant activities that have happened since the last board meeting.
On Dec. 6, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) paid Northside a site visit as part of the state reviewing the work of the school concerning the federal grant Northside received in September. Preparing for the MDE site visit was a rigorous project and Beck praised the teachers and District staff in getting ready for the visit.
The Principal also noted that attendance at Northside for the first trimester was down about one percent this year. She also discussed a family survey the school sent out. It had a 35 percent return rate.
In his report, St. James High School Principal Ted Simon noted that the high school’s attendance has improved from last year. It was at 96.33% for the trimester compared to 96% in the pervious year.
It was Board member Tammy Stevens last meeting. Cselovszki and fellow board members thanked her for her service.
Luisa Edith Trapero, who was elected to the Board in November, assumes the Board seat vacated by Stevens in January.