Sleepy Eye school board OKs 1.94 percent levy increase

SLEEPY EYE — The District 84 Board of Education unanimously approved 1.94 percent 2018 tax levy increase Dec. 13.

Finance Director Amanda Boomgarten said the school district’s $24,364 levy increase put the total 2018 levy at $1,278,670. She said most of the increase will go to long-term facilities maintenance and health and safety costs.

Curriculum Coordinator Nancy Moore gave a World’s Best Workforce report in which most goals and results were achieved. Achievements included 100 percent of all 5-year-olds in the school district received childhood screening and medically-acceptable immunizations prior to entering Kindergarten this year.

Other goals met included;

• 77.8 percent of all third grade students enrolled by Oct. 1 were proficient in the Reading MCA (test).

• The proficiency gap between FRP (free and reduced lunch) and non-FRP students enrolled the full academic year for all grades tested on all state reading accountability tests decreased from 16.3 percent in 2016 to 10.5 percent in 2017.

“This is what we really do well here at Sleepy Eye Public School. Closing proficiency gaps is our pride and joy,” Moore said.

• The graduation rate of all senior students enrolled by Oct. 1 was 97.14 percent. The graduation rate was 94.59 percent last year.

The school district did not increase the percentage of all students in grade 8 who are proficient in the Science MCA. The rate was 32.6 percent in 2016 and 21.6 percent in 2017. Moore said the school district did show growth in math scores. She said the more students read, the better they will do.

“We have to work more on this,” boardmember Darla Remus said. Several board members talked about making curriculum changes.

Superintendent John Cselovszki said he encourages teachers to use iBooks to help raise math scores.

Cselovszki said he met with St. James Community Education Director Sue Harris, Tri Valley officials and local stakeholders about keeping the daycare in the Tri Valley school.

“Tri Valley was losing about $4,500 a month with the daycare so they decided to shut it down. They often lose money at first. I think you have to study it for two or three years first,” Cselovszki said. “The Sleepy Eye EDA wants the daycare to continue, which it will do for two more months now at the EDA’s request. We will study how to keep it going longer, by looking at a non-profit organization as was done in St. Peter or possible private management.”

Cselovszki asked board members what they wanted to do and he would bring information to future board meetings to discuss the issue.

The board approved:

• Hiring Kate Nelson at One Act Play Director at $1,224 and junior high basketball coach Marc Riederer at $2,146.

• A $1,000 donation from the Sleepy Eye Servicemen’s Club for athletics and arts.

• Salary and benefits for non-union support staff including a $1 per year pay hike and larger 403b contributions.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.

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