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ACGC approves maximum preliminary levy

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news Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

GROVE CITY -- The Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School Board approved the preliminary general fund levy Monday, agreeing to levy the maximum amount allowed by the state.

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Because the state has not completed calculating the complicated financial formulas that determine the maximum amount a school district can levy, the exact dollar amount of ACGC's 2011, payable 2012 levy, isn't known yet.

The state provided ACGC with preliminary figures but some of the categories aren't concrete, said Chairwoman Judy Raske.

Because school boards are required to approve their preliminary levy by Oct. 7, schools typically vote to levy the "maximum" amount while waiting for the state to finalize the exact figure.

If a school board prematurely approves a specific dollar amount for the levy that is lower than what the state eventually determines, school districts forfeit the extra aid they would've been entitled to receive.

Raske said the state is a little slower than usual this year in providing financial information, possibly because of the state shutdown this summer. "It's just more uncertain this year - more than usual."

In the meantime, Raske said the board is "reining things in pretty tight" on the budget to meet school revenue.

She said the state's approval of a $50 increase in student aid will be reflected in the budget.

It's a good thing the 2012 levy is based on last year's enrollment.

According to the most recent reports, ACGC enrollment has dropped 28 students this year. In May the K-12 enrollment was 811. In September it was 783. The loss all occurred in K-4 grades.

"They are what they are," said Superintendent Sherri Broderius, who advised the board to be "very cautious in our budget planning and spending."

The board also heard a detailed report from Mike Peterson, from Dayton's Bus Service, about how school bus routes are determined. He said the routes are based on school board directives that routes take no longer than 70 minutes and that children be bused to elementary schools in Atwater or Cosmos based on where they live.

Peterson said special requests from families and driving to different communities to pick up students who open enroll into ACGC present efficiency challenges but no major problems.

The transportation budget has been reduced because of a reduction of one route and because the district operates only four days a week.

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