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Montevideo School Board adopts levy for 2010, prepares for cuts

MONTEVIDEO -- Montevideo School Board members adopted a 2010 levy that reflects an overall 0.26 percent decrease from this year's levy.

The board members on Monday adopted a total levy of $2,200,869 for the general, community service and general debt service funds in 2010, according to Superintendent Dr. Luther Heller. The total is $5,738.08 less than the 2009 levy.

The district is projecting that it will retain its existing fund balance level at the end of the fiscal year. The balance is currently equal to about 6 percent of the budget. The projection is based on expectations that all of the state aids will be received that were delayed or shifted due to the state's budget problems.

School board members also instructed the superintendent to develop recommendations for the upcoming year's general fund budget. The new budget will include recommendations for $340,000 to $400,000 in reductions, Heller said.

In a referendum in November, voters rejected a ballot measure that would have revoked the existing $506-per-pupil operations levy and replaced it with a $975-per-pupil levy.

In other business Monday, school board members voted 3-2 against a request for a Spanish class trip to Spain in April 2011. Board members instructed administrators and faculty to develop a new proposal for the trip preferably outside the regular school calendar.

The vote followed extensive discussion on concerns that the April dates for the trip would take students away from classes.

Board members in support of the request noted that the trip was an educational opportunity, and that students currently miss class time for everything from athletic competitions to family vacations, according to Heller.

In another matter, school board members appointed high school senior Dakota Frazier as a student representative to the board of education. She will serve as an ex officio member of the board and participate in regular meetings and discussions. She will not vote. The student representative will not have access to confidential materials, nor can she participate in executive sessions.

Board members appointed the student representative to gain the perspective of students in the decision-making process, Heller said. The presence of a student representative will also keep the focus on the importance of the decision-making process to students.

Board members also rescinded action that would have ended the sale of carbonated beverages as part of concessions at athletic and fundraising events once the district's contract with Pepsi expires. Board members revised the policy to state the district will promote the sale of non-carbonated and other healthy beverages at the events.

Tom Cherveny

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

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