The official Osakis School District Census, ages zero through high school, was received by the School Board at its Monday, Dec. 10 regular meeting. Total number is 871, which is the third highest number in 30 years of record keeping. This includes 460 elementary students, and 411 high schoolers. Prepared by Elementary Secretary Tracy Stigman, the census shows a total of 460 elementary children, including 429 at Osakis Public Elementary, and 31 at St. Agnes School.
The Osakis 2019-2020 preschool program came up for discussion at the Monday, Dec. 10 regular School Board meeting, when a number of citizens attended to give input and ask questions about the district's plan for next year. The pre-school item was not on the agenda, but Board Chair Becky Hensley allowed input from the floor, and discussion with the board. The preschool topic has been referred to a committee that is headed by Elementary Principal Shad Schmidt.
The maximum allowable tax levy for the Osakis School District was certified to the county auditor at the School Board's Truth in Taxation meeting held Monday, Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. The levy is $1,751,014, an increase of 3.28 percent for 2019, or an increase of $55,540 from last year's levy. In comparison, the board approved the 2018 levy at 3.27 percent levy, in the amount of $1,695,474, which was an increase of $53,645.
Osakis School District 213 received a clean audit for the year ended June 30, 2018, when Mary Reedy, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, presented the annual report to the School Board at its Wednesday, Nov. 14 meeting. The meeting was moved because of the Monday, Nov. 12 Veterans Day holiday. The unmodified or clean opinion is the highest opinion a school district can receive, Reedy said. She complimented the School Board, stating the reserve of 46 percent of expenditures is almost a half year of funding in reserve.
The Osakis School Board will be seating a new member on Jan. 7, 2019, as a result of the Tuesday, Nov. 6 board election. The board canvassed the general election outcome at its Wednesday, Nov. 14 regular meeting. Incumbents Becky Hensley and Greg Faber were re-elected with 1,047 and 804 votes respectively. Chris George was the new member elected with a total of 878 votes. George will replace Monika Klimek, who did not run for re-election, on the board. All three will be sworn in at the Jan. 7, 2019 meeting and each will serve four year terms.
The Osakis School Board discussed the possibility of adding full-time preschool for the 2019-2020 school year at its Wednesday, Nov. 14 regular meeting. Elementary Principal Shad Schmidt reported that the Preschool Committee had met twice and discussed the all day kindergarten option. Space is a concern, and also consideration for the Early Childhood Family Education program. The board will discuss the possibility at a work session planned for Friday, Nov. 30 from 2-4 p.m.
There is something "new" at Jerry Hiltner's Vintage Village Antiques, three miles north of West Union. The village now includes the restored Immanuel Lutheran Church, which was built in 1897 in Reynolds Township, Todd County, near Gutches Grove, and used as a house of worship into the 1950s.
Osakis School District employs 66 teachers/staff this year, and the current seniority list was approved by the School Board at its Tuesday, Oct. 9 regular meeting. Fifth grade teacher Dave Dykema has served the school district for 32 years, and tops the seniority list. He began his tenure at Osakis on Aug. 26, 1986. Gina Wagner, who teaches first grade, is serving her 31st year with the Osakis district.Wagner began on Sept. 1, 1987.
Osakis Public Schools will have a new Media Center, thanks to a generous gift of $50,000 from Newman Olson, Jr., and Sonja Olson. Construction on the center was planned for Oct. 18-19, during MEA when school is not is session. The improvements will include flexible seating, painting, removal of some book shelves, and installation of pods in the center.
The Osakis School Board ratified the sale of General Obligation School Refunding Bonds at its Tuesday, Oct. 9 regular meeting, at an interest rate of 2.6 percent. This will result in a savings to district taxpayers of nearly $400,000 over the next eight years. Superintendent Randy Bergquist told the board that the Osakis School District was rated very well, receiving a Triple AAA, A+ rating.