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School levy set to increase 3 percent

The proposed 2018 tax levy payable 2019 was approved by the Osakis School Board at its Wednesday, Sept. 26 special meeting at 5:30 p.m.

The maximum levy allowed of $1,859,178 was proposed.

Superintendent Randy Bergquist informed the board that the numbers could still change before the Sept. 30 deadline required to have the numbers sent to the county auditor.

The numbers were changing daily during the week, Bergquist said, because of adjustments made by the Minnesota Department of Education coordinator.

The final levy will be certified to the state in December. Until that time, adjustments could be made to the number up to that point but it can't be increased.

The 2017 levy payable 2018, which was passed in December of 2017, was certified at $1,695,474, which was a 3.27 percent increase, or $53,645 more from the previous year.

Insurance renewed

In other business, the School Board approved paying the automobile insurance policy of $11,492.23 to Larson Insurance. This policy covers buses and vans and the people who drive them to athletic events, special events, etc.

Bergquist pointed out that the premium was about $3,000 lower than last year.

Refinancing existing bonds

Bergquist reported to the School Board that he had participated in a conference call with Ehlers, Inc., and the Chicago office of Standard and Poor's regarding the S&P credit rating of the Osakis School District. A credit rating is an evaluation of the credit risk of a prospective debtor, predicting their ability to pay back the debt.

He made a presentation on the call, giving Ehlers and S&P a picture of the Osakis School District and its strong points, as well as the economic picture of the Osakis community.

Bullet points included enrollment numbers of the school, open enrollment trends, and facts about Osakis' philosophy and implementation of discipline policies, and MCA test scores, along with updates on special education, technology, and long-term planning.

S&P was expected to announce the new Osakis School District S&P rating on Thursday, Sept. 27.

This is part of the process leading up to the refunding of the district's outstanding bonds to pay off the 2009 General Obligation School Building Bonds in the amount of $5,740,000, and in the process reduce the interest rate, thus saving the taxpayers an estimated $420,000.

Upcoming meeting date changes

Regular School Board meeting dates in October and November will be adjusted to allow for a holiday and meeting with auditors.

The October meeting will be held Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 5:30 p.m., because of the Monday Columbus Day holiday.

The November meeting will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 5:30 p.m. This will include a meeting with the auditors. The second Monday is normally the regular meeting, but had to be changed by law because no meetings are allowed by law on the observance of Veterans Day.