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Yellow Medicine East adopts levy of more than $1.7M for the upcoming school year

GRANITE FALLS -- School board members adopted on Monday a levy of $1,736,241.36 for the Yellow Medicine East Schools in the coming fiscal year.

The new budget represents an increase of $297,735.11 -- or 20.6 percent -- over last year. The biggest factors in the increase are the new funds being levied for integration needs and for other post-employment benefits bonds, according to Superintendent Al Stoeckman.

The district qualifies for integration funding since it is considered racially isolated in that students of color represent more than 20 percent of the enrollment. The levy for integration is matched on a 70 percent state, 30 percent local formula.

Legislation approved last year allows schools to sell bonds for other post-employment benefits, mainly retiree benefit costs, and include the bond costs in the annual levy.

In other business Monday, YME board members reviewed the 2008-2009 audit report with certified public accountant Barry Evenstad, of Hoffman & Brobst of Granite Falls. The audit showed the district to be in good fiscal shape with an adequate fund balance. However, the audit also indicated that the fund balance is being depleted by the state tax shift, according to Stoeckman.

In response, he said board members took action to enable the school to borrow money if necessary in the spring.

In other matters, board members approved pursuing the district's involvement in the Race to the Top program if Minnesota is among the states selected for funding. The federal government has offered financial incentives to states that are leading the way with educational reforms.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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