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Granite Falls Advocate Tribune - Granite Falls, MN
  • YME School Board approves lower 2013 tax levy, talks teen sex survey

  • The Yellow Medicine East school board certified the 2013 levy for the district at $2,250,492.86 at Monday night's school board meeting. The levy is a one percent decrease over the 2012 levy.The local levy funds 20.59 percent of the schools district's revenue for the upcoming year; state aid contributes 63.78 percent; fe...
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  • The Yellow Medicine East school board certified the 2013 levy for the district at $2,250,492.86 at Monday night's school board meeting. The levy is a one percent decrease over the 2012 levy.
    The local levy funds 20.59 percent of the schools district's revenue for the upcoming year; state aid contributes 63.78 percent; federal aid and grants contributes 9.18 percent; and other local revenue contributes 6.45 percent.
    The local tax dollars offset the expenses in the General Fund, Community Service Fund and Debt Redemption/ OPEB Fund. The proposed expenditures for the General Fund is $1,161,682.22; the Community Service expenditures are expected to total $130,921.81 and the Debt Redemption/OPEB is projected at $957,888.83 for a total local tax levy of $2,259,492.86.
    Factors contributing to the changes from the 2012 levy to the 2013 levy include changes in state funding formulas, a change in an excess levy referendum due to an inflationary factor, a change in number of pupil units in the district, home values in the district increasing at a slower rate and commercial/ industrial and agricultural acreage growing in value and shifting more tax burden from in-town property to farmland, changes in total value of individual property and changes in the total valuation of all the property within the school district.
    YME Finance Director Lee Ann Boushek explained that state funding for schools has not kept pace with inflation. She pointed out that increases in basic general education revenue per pupil have been less than inflation. For the fiscal years 2012 and 2013, basic per-pupil funding increased less than one per cent per year, while district expenses increase by tow to three percent each year.
    She told the board, "With minimal increase in state funding expected we are facing a projected budget shortfall for 2014 and 2015 and anticipate the need for budget cuts."
    Personnel items
    •The board approved a leave of absence for Angie Jans. They then approved a long term substitute contract for Cathy Michaelson who will replace Jans in the classroom.
    •The board also approved a contract for Dave Lee as equipment manager.
    •Accepted the resignation of head volleyball coach Tasha Feldman.
    Board discusses
    teen sex survey
    Tim Opdahl and Grant Velde shared their concerns about a survey that showed a high rate of student sexual activity at YME. The survey information was presented by Linda Norland, Deputy Administrator of Countryside Public Health to the YME PTO members, members of the clergy, members of the board and community members at the December PTO meeting.
    Norland briefly shared a curriculum, designed for 6th, 7th and 8th graders called "Draw the Line – Respect the Line" and a companion curriculum for adults called "It's that Easy."
    She offered to work with YME, area churches, and community organizations. "I'll go anywhere, anytime," she offered. "I wanted to let you know there is an issue. You tell me what you want to do about it."
    Page 2 of 2 - When sharing his concerns with the board, Opdahl said, "[teen sexual activity] needs to be addressed. It's an issue that needs our attention." Board member Dawn Odegard shared, "It's a topic nobody wants to grab onto. It's a fear of the unknown."
    The consensus of the board was there should be a follow-up discussion on the issue. Board Chair Grant Velde said the school would hold an open meeting in January to discuss teen sexual activity.

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