The majority of the Thursday, Dec. 19, meeting of the Lanesboro School Board was spent discussing the 2014 levy and budget for the school district. The community will again see a decrease in school taxes.

The levy decreased from $437,980 last year to $373,445 for the next year. This is the third year in a row the district has seen their local levy decrease.

Superintendent Jeff Boggs said the decrease was good for taxes, but added the school would most likely see a need to increase the levy in future years. He noted much of the levy was controlled by the state.

The school will receive about $71,515 in aid next year, which is a slight increase from last year. Boggs reported the school is still getting less aid dollars than several years ago. Part of the decrease in aid is due to schools receiving less per student.

In discussing the budget, Boggs pointed out the student enrollment was up slightly, but that aid was still going down. "I'm hearing from the state that more money is going into education, but I'm not seeing it," he stated.

Board member Steve Snyder said per pupil aid probably varied across schools with some schools receiving more aid than others.

The district receives 75.7 percent of its revenue from the state and 22.8 percent comes from the levy. The district is expecting just over $4 million in revenue in 2014, but has over $4.5 million in expenditures.

The board approved the levy and budget.

Boggs reminded the board the district chose to allow its operating referendum to expire, which will require the district to draw from its savings where there is over $3 million. The board agreed it would bring the district's savings balance down to between $1 million and $1.5 million dollars before asking the community to support another operating referendum.

Snyder said the board couldn't know if the state would pass legislation in the future setting restrictions on the amount of money school districts could have in savings.

Playground equipment

Boggs alerted the board to possible changes to the playground equipment the school shares with the city. He presented a couple digital renderings of new equipment created by Flagship Recreation. A map showing the placement of the new equipment was also provided. Boggs said the process has only just started with some conversations.

He noted the high expense of new equipment and said the city would be considering a cost-share with the school.

Snyder asked what was wrong with the old equipment, which would be removed if the new equipment is installed.

Boggs said several pieces were starting to break, which would present safety hazards.

Board member Lolly Melander suggested that the city should be looking at matching grants.

Personnel

The board approved the non-certified contract increases for the next two years, which were set at 3.7 percent for both years.

The board did not act on the 2013-2015 master contract with the teachers union and reported the board would act on it at the next meeting.