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Paynesville Schools certify $1.6 million levy for 2009

By Garret Felder

PAYNESVILLE -- The Paynesville School Board on Tuesday certified a 2009 preliminary district levy worth $1.6 million.

Superintendent Todd Burlingame said Wednesday the district's preliminary levy is $200,000 less than the levy of 2008 because the district required less funding for health and safety necessities.

"We levied last year for $78,000 and we did handicap doors and more sidewalks on our grounds," Burlingame said. "We didn't have to do that this year."

During the 2007-08 school year, the district completed a mass safety project that made district facilities more handicap-accessible, Burlingame said. Handicap-accessibility improvements to the elementary and middle/high school used most of the funding from the district's disabled-access levy, Burlingame said. The district also updated the high school stadium's bleachers with handicap accessibility, he said.

Burlingame said the levy could change a little before the December final certification because the district is working with the state department on a lease levy for the ice rink and gymnasium at the Koronis Civic Arena.

"The good thing is...we're not required to hold a Truth-in-Taxation meeting this year," Burlingame said. "We've had to do that for the last four, five years and I don't know if we've had anybody ever show up yet."

Paynesville's certification of a decreasing levy comes almost three months after reports of a deficit budget for the 2008-09 school year.

In June, the School Board approved a 2008-09 budget that included a $377,000 deficit. The district will use money from its general fund reserves to cover the debt.

Burlingame said in June the district will most likely make budget cuts in 2008-09 for the first time in four years. Many budget decisions, Burlingame said, depend on the district's 2007-08 completed audit expected in October or November.