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By Cara L. Dempski
ELK MOUND – The Board of Education for the Elk Mound Area School District approved a preliminary budget for the coming school year during its August 23 budget hearing and annual meeting. The preliminary budget indicates total expenditures of $25,502,140 across all expense funds, with the proposed property tax levy of $3,235,637 which represents 20 percent of the general fund budget, considering the district receives the other 80% from state aid. Superintendent Eric Wright reminded the Board and district residents in attendance the final budget numbers will be nailed down once variables like equalized property value, and student enrollment are determined. The current numbers, which represent the district’s “best guess” at figures currently indicate a mill rate of $7.58. This represents a change of 62 cents less in mill rate from last year. Information presented in the property tax projections indicates the District’s equalized value has risen consistently the past 10 years, from $281,213,455 in 2011-2012, to $406,240,617 last year. The estimated value of property for this year represents a potential increase of about 5% to $426,552,647for a total potential levy of $3,235,637.
After the budget hearing closed, the annual meeting opened, and the Board president Tim Sivertson was chosen as the meeting chairperson. Board member salaries were set at $1,750 for Board officers and $1,500 for Board members. The purchase of textbooks was authorized, as was setting a tax levy for school operation including maintenance and transportation, debt service, and community service. The meeting authorized the School Board to provide legal defense on its behalf. The final item of regular business was setting a school term with direct instruction hours of no less than 437 hours of kindergarten, 1050 hours for grades one through six, and 1137 hours for grades seven through 12.
During the regular monthly meeting, the Board heard an update on the construction projects. The CESA 10 representative overseeing the projects reported most projects are nearing completion, including the secure entries at the middle school and elementary school. He indicated the entries at both buildings will be complete September 6. He also reported the final layer of rubber will be added to the track the week of August 23. District administrators and the overseer asked that the public not use the surface yet to give the surface time to set.
With that in mind, the August 27 football game originally scheduled to be held at Elk Mound was scheduled instead to be held at St. Croix Central. That makes the first home game this season the Sept. 10 contest against Regis. Someone on the Board asked about homecoming; Wright explained homecoming is scheduled for Oct. 1 versus Fall Creek.
In other construction news, the first few days of school will see buses at the middle school dropping off and picking up students using Ivy Avenue since the final layer of asphalt on the parking lot needs time to cure.
The next regular meeting of the Elk Mound School Board will be held September 20 at 7 p.m.