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School board asks public to renew $1.01 levy referendum

While the impact to district taxpayers is pennies per household, continuation of the Pequot Lakes School District’s $1.01 per student levy referendum would give the district access to a share of equity revenue from the state.

The referendum has been in place for 10 years and is set to expire. It will be on district voters’ ballots Nov. 6.

The $1.01 per student referendum would not increase taxes. If it passes, it would continue a levy that has been in place for the past 10 years.

Steve Pumper, from PMA Financial, presented a financial outlook for the school district at the school board’s regular meeting Monday, Oct. 22.

Pumper said the referendum’s impact to the average household is pennies.

Having the $1.01 referendum allows the district access to equity revenue money, Pumper said.

If the referendum fails, the school district would lose its access to equity revenue accounting for around $140,000 or more a year of district funding.

The state takes an average of per pupil revenue in rural districts and uses equity revenue to move districts closer to that average amount.

Over the course of four years, equity revenue accounts for $600,000 of funding for the Pequot Lakes School District.

While the Pequot Lakes School District is levying $1.01 per student, comparable districts are levying an average of $207 per student, Pumper said.

Pumper pointed out that the school is in far better financial standing long-term if it has the equity revenue.

Superintendent Rick Linnell commented on the referendum after the board meeting, saying, “It’s very important to us.”

In other business Monday, the board:

• Approved construction bond disbursements in the amount of $3,740,751.20.

• Approved bills paid in the amount of $418,956,38.

• Heard a lengthy presentation from Gaynard Brown of the Paul Bunyan Education Cooperative regarding a new joint powers agreement. The board did not approve the agreement, but will send it through the finance and policy committees before reviewing it again at the December meeting.

• Approved the resignations of Cherie Mans, Kid Konnection paraprofessional, and Garry Grewe, assistant baseball coach.

• Approved hiring Jamie Kloss, bus driver.

• Approved coaching assignments. The district is still seeking a middle level girls’ basketball coach.

• Approved a resolution of support for a grant application to the Minnesota State High School League. Grants from the league go toward helping students in need pay activity fees.