District 88 School Board expecting slightly lower tax levy in 2019

NEW ULM — The New Ulm school district is looking at a slight decrease to school levy of 0.64 percent from last year.

Business Manager Myrna Meunier gave a presentation on next year’s budget during the District 88 School Board’s Truth in Taxation meeting Thursday. In 2019, the school is looking at a levy of $8,109,970.23 which is $52,513 less than 2018’s levy.

The local referendum levy is part of the General Fund and provides for classroom instruction, supplies, equipment, special education, extra curricular, transportation, facility operation and capital expenditures

No comments were heard during the tax hearing. The final vote on this levy will be held during the next regular school board meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 20, 2018.

Action Plan

The school board reviewed their Action Plan during their work session. Superintendent Jeff Bertrang said the plan is reviewed every 90 to 120 days to determine if they are meeting bench marks.

The plan has three goals; the first to increase student achievement by three percent each year as measured using the MCA test data; the second is to personalize learning for all students and the third is to build upon the confidence and support of the community.

At this time, staff is on track with the action plan, Bertrang said.

School board Chair Duane Winters had concerns about overlooking the students in the middle. He said the school seems to focus attention on the high performing student and lower performing students. Winters worried the kids who did not struggle enough, were being ignored.

Bertrang said they do have group programs in place for all students based on level of the performance to make sure each student get the attention they need.

On the the personalized learning goal, Bertang clarified the differents between personalized learning and individualized learning. Individual learning is a student learning by themselves at their own pace. Personalized learning is education based a skill set and which areas they want to learn.

“We’re not just talking students,” Bertrang said. “We’re talking adults as well.”

At this time, the school is reaching out to other schools with personalized learning programs to adapt New Ulm’s program. The staff is being introduced to the personalized concepts as well.

The third goal of building confidence and support in the community, was a past action goal but the district wants to go deeper. Efforts to create additional parent/student organizations in order to better demonstrate to the community what students are working on.

The next regular school board meeting is 6 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 20 in the District Boardroom.