Kingsland's school board certified its preliminary budget and levy during the September meeting, held last Monday evening at the high school.

The 2012-13 proposed property tax levy is $415,387.69, and the 2011-12 levy was $420,224.79. The 2012-13 general fund is proposed to be $339,839.20, and the 2011-2012 general fund was $364,210.36.

Kingsland Superintendent John McDonald noted that the "state average for per student referendums is $936, we were at $300, and we're now at $700 per student." The total proposed budget for 2012-13 is $1,992,592.50, and the 2011-12 budget was $2,028,326.35, or a "decrease of 1.76 percent."

The board certified the proposed maximum amount and will officially certify the levy and budget in December. The annual truth in taxation meeting is scheduled for Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m., and though there is also a band concert that night, the board must hold the meeting after 6 p.m. to make it accessible for people who are attending after work.

Off to good start

Both Kingsland principals - high school principal James Hecimovich and elementary principal Chris Priebe - reported that the school year was off to a commendable start.

Hecimovich's update concerned the College in the Schools (CIS) program, through which the high school is offering a total of 64 college credits to qualifying program participants who can choose to take English, social, science, math and language classes.

"We've created a study zone for students, and they seem excited to be using it as a student union. They're excited, and a lot of them are taking multiple courses, which isn't easy, because these are college classes."

He added that he appreciates the work the school's tech department has invested to have netbooks ready for the students to use, and that the school will soon have wireless Internet connections available throughout.

Priebe said the staff and students have begun a great school year and that "it's phenomenal watching them build relationships." With the overhaul of the community education department, he said the district will soon be hiring an early childhood family education (ECFE) coordinator and a community education coordinator.

He thanked Bobbi Jean Tweed, Jennifer Dessner and Kelly Opseth for their service to the district, adding that Opseth has become a kindergarten teacher for the school year to accommodate the growing kindergarten population.

Superintendent gives updates

Superintendent McDonald outlined news of the Kingsland realm next. "Homecoming is approaching, and there will be a dinner at 5 p.m. on Friday, with a Wall of Honor recognition to follow at 6. We are honoring Donovan Frank, a federal judge who was appointed by President Clinton. He's a great example of students moving forward from rural schools. He has also been asked to speak to the seniors at commencement."

Regarding CIS, he said, "We're sending about $40,000 less out of the district than last year now that we have College in the Schools - it costs about half that to offer the CIS classes, and we're keeping students in the district who might otherwise have gone to post-secondary programs at the colleges."

Additionally, he related that students who have netbooks and iPads are "engaged" in class and staying after school to finish their studies.

Other business

Kingsland business manager Kathy Beevers informed the board of the wrap-up work being done on the 2011-12 budget and audit, and that the audit report will likely be given at the November meeting.

She also invited staff, students, parents and members of the public to stop in for the district's sixth annual flu shot clinic on Tuesday, Oct. 2, from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., inoculating against seasonal and H1N1 influenza. The clinic is open to individuals age 4 and older, and cost is $28 per person unless one's health insurance covers the charges.

Personnel changes included accepting the resignations of paraprofessional Brenda Hofner, ECFE teacher Bobbi Jean Tweed and community education coordinator Jennifer Dessner, terminating early childhood special education paraprofessional Heather Lawson, hiring Kelly Opseth as a kindergarten teacher for the 2012-2013 school year, Aaron Thauwald as a paraprofessional, Mark Kossman as the district's school psychologist for the duration of September and October, Andrew Brouwer as assistant varsity football coach, and hiring winter coaching staff.

Extracurricular assignments for the school year were also accepted, as were seniority lists. The board denied a request for the district to pay attorney fees for criminal defense charges brought against Tracy Sigl. McDonald will respond to Sigl's request in writing.

The next regular meeting of the Kingsland School Board is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 15, 6:30 p.m. in the conference room at Kingsland High School. The public is welcome to attend. For more information, contact the district office at 507-346-7276 or log onto the Kingsland websitewww.kingsland.k12.mn.us.