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ACGC seeks to extend levy for 10 more years

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news Willmar, 56201

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

GROVE CITY ––  A vote to renew an $804 operating levy for an additional 10 years will be on the ballot this fall in the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District.

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The district’s current levy of $1,075, which was approved seven years ago, expires in 2015.

Earlier this year the board had agreed to put the issue before voters but had held off setting a dollar figure until the dust settled from the legislative session.

Legislative action that allows school boards to automatically implement a $424 operating levy without voter approval, and changes in how much state revenue is allocated per pupil for students in the different grades, were factors in the school board’s final decision.

In the past, students in different grades were “weighted” differently in terms of per-pupil revenue. That formula has been simplified.

In a unanimous vote Monday, the board approved a resolution to renew the operating levy of $804.65 per pupil unit.

The board had initially talked about renewing the levy for seven years, but agreed instead to ask for a 10-year life to the levy.

The combination of a voter-approved levy and the automatic levy will result in the same tax impact as the current levy, said Dan Tait, ACGC business manager.

“There is no smoke. No mirrors,” said Tait. “This will result in no changes to an individual’s taxes.”

If the levy is renewed, Tait said taxpayers will notice a small decrease  in the voter-approved levy line on their tax statements and a slight increase in the non-voter-approved tax amount.

But he said it will cost taxpayers the same as the current operations levy.

“It’s a legitimate renewal of the existing levy,” said Tait.

The revenue generated from the levy will be used to maintain small class sizes and for “bringing back the programs” that were previously cut to save money and that parents are now asking to be restored, said Superintendent Sherri Broderius.

“This is for student achievement. For every single kid’s education,” she said.

A volunteer “vote yes” committee will be working to educate voters about the issue prior to the election, Broderius said.

Also on Monday, the board approved a revised bullying policy that incorporates mandates approved by the Legislature.

New posters and a bullying incident report, that includes a process for investigating a bullying report and communicating with parents, will be ready when school starts, Broderius said.

The district will also conduct training of staff and students during the week of homecoming and will be incorporating a presentation by the Climb Theater this fall.

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