News

Langdon Area School District board approves budget

The Langdon Area School District (LASD) board met on Monday, September 12 to review the upcoming school year’s budget.

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Posted on 9/17/16

By Melissa Anderson

Prior to the regular meeting, the LASD board held a special meeting to answer any questions the public might have regarding the 12 percent increase in funding request from the district’s patrons. The school district will be increasing their request for funding in order to meet the state required 60 mill minimum from local funding as well as cover other increased costs.

“The increase in the request for local funds is due to the addition of staffing by adding one elementary teacher, doubling the amount of time needed to provide preschool and additional staff time needed to provide services to our special needs population along with negotiated pay increases across the district.,” LASD Superintendent Daren Christianson explained.

Christianson continued by statingt that the past few years the district has been intentionally running a deficit budget for the purpose of insuring that the general fund would align with the state legislature’s directive that districts carry over no more than 35% of the prior year’s actual expenditures + $20,000.

“The intention of the board is to run a balanced budget for the 2016-2017 school year,” Christianson said.

With the taxable valuation for 2016-2017  for the district at an estimated $34 million, the school  district would be just at the state required 60 mills. Should the final valuation be higher than the estimate, the school will fall just below that benchmark. Even with the increase, the school’s mill levy would still fall into the bottom 20 percent of the state in regards to the amount of mills the school utilizes to fund itself.

Christianson explained that information being given to the state’s schools is to not expect any increase in funding and to actually plan on the state either maintaining the current funding level or possibly even decrease the allocated funds for education.

During the regular meeting, Christianson informed the board members present that the final budget for the 2015-2016 school year was nearly completed and had only a $50,000 deficit. This was achieved by underspending and the reimbursements that the school received making the budget look better and the school in at a comfortable level financially. Christianson moved on to the proposed budget for the 2016-2017 school year and explained that the school is expecting to have a balanced budget. The board approved the budget with the addition of a teaching position.

Christianson went over the recent addition to the budget, which is a half-time teaching position in the elementary school that would assist students in math.

The position was requested by Langdon Elementary School Principal Todd Hetler in response to moving the previous position of a pre-school Special Ed teacher to full-time. Christianson and Hetler explained that the position is needed due to nearly 50 students in the elementary school testing at the 46th percentile or less on the assessment tests. Hetler and Christianson have explicit expectations as well as goals for the teaching position. The board approved the hiring of a half-time math interventionist to help those students in the elementary school.

In Other Business

• The board received and approved the annual compliance report from the LASD administration.

• Christianson informed the board that the annual audit was scheduled for September 26 and 27.

• The board received and acknowledged homeschool letters of intent.

• The board approved two staff contracts for the speech coach position which will be split between two individuals.

• The board discussed the replacement of the electronic sign in front of the school. Board president Warren Jonasson stated that he would find some prices for a suitable replacement.