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Sleepy Eye district seeks levy

Public hearing set 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16

October 15, 2012
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer , The Journal

SLEEPY EYE - Sleepy Eye Public School will hold a hearing at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 16 in the Lindahl Room on the excess levy referendum question to be decided by district voters in the Nov. 6 general election.

The school district is asking for a five-year, $500-per-pupil-unit (PPU) levy that would generate $274,309 per year.

No referendum taxes will be paid on the value of agricultural land and buildings except for the value of the home.

If the referendum is approved, annual taxes on a home with a $50,000 market value would rise $52; $78 for a $75,000 home, $104 for a $100,000 home, $130 for a $125,000 home, $156 for a $150,000 home, $182 for a $175,000 home, and $208 for a $200,000 home.

If the Sleepy Eye referendum fails, district taxes for 2013 will be 4.75 percent ($37,097.92) below the payable 2012 certified levy.

Much of the levy difference comes from a $47,229.89 debt service levy reduction.

District 84 Superintendent John Cselovszki reported current district enrollment at 606 students, slightly higher than last year. He said 22 Sleepy Eye St. Mary's students were attending Spanish II, agriculture and construction (shared-time) classes at Sleepy Eye High School.

If approved by voters, excess levy money would be used to reinstate most recent elective class cuts including music, art, business, family and consumer science.

Even if the referendum passes, a budget inflation gap will exist, although not as much as it would if the referendum fails, according to a recent district brochure.

"We're running a bare bones budget now. The referendum would give us a few more things than we have now, but only for a limited time," said Cselovszki. "Passing the levy would allow us to keep the (school) doors open a little longer."

Sleepy Eye Public School is the only area school district without a current excess operating levy. Other annual levies range from $500 PPU at Fairmont to $2,083.23 at Heron Lake-Okabena (HLO).

Fairmont voters will decide the fate of an additional $450 PPU levy next month, HLO has no levy referendum on the ballot this year.

The school board has made more than $850,000 in program cuts over the past three years. Cuts include:

Combining the elementary principal and superintendent positions.

Several elementary and high school positions, creating larger class sizes.

An elementary social worker.

English Language Learner (ELL) position.

Library assistant.

Office support.

C-squad and junior high coaching jobs.

Staff development.

Athletic director time and counseling for both Sleepy Eye high schools.



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