Moorhead Area Public Schools' District Blog

Archive for the ‘School Board’ Category

Area superintendents provide updates on World’s Best Workforce at intergovernmental retreat

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Superintendent Lynne Kovash participated with other Clay County superintendents in a panel discussion about the area schools and World’s Best Workforce during the 46th Annual Clay County Joint Powers Intergovernmental Retreat on Jan. 23. Read more.

Board hears preliminary facilities task force recommendation

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

The latest recommendations from the Master Facilities Plan Task Force include adding a fifth- and sixth-grade addition and auditorium to Horizon Middle School and building a new kindergarten through fourth-grade elementary school by 2018. John Pfluger with Cuningham Group presented the current draft of the plan to the Moorhead School Board at a special meeting Jan. 5. Read more.

School Board members take oath of office

Monday, January 5th, 2015

On Jan. 5, School Board chair Cindy Fagerlie (center) led the oath of office ceremony for board members Laurie Johnson, William K. “Bill” Tomhave and Mark Altenburg. In November, Johnson and Tomhave were re-elected to four-year terms. Altenburg, a former Moorhead City Council member, was elected to his first four-year term on the board.

2013-14 audit report shows progress toward restoring fund balance

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

The Moorhead School Board learned that differences between the original budget, final budget, and actual revenue and expenditures for the 2013-14 school year were close. The district also continued to restore its fund balance with a goal of preventing the need for future borrowing for cash flow purposes.
Jaime Fay, Eide Bailly LLP, presented the executive summary of the district’s 2013-14 annual audit report to the board at the Dec. 15 meeting. The report provides an overview of the district’s finances and demonstrates the district’s accountability for the money it receives and spends.

According to the audit, total revenues budgeted were $60.8 million and actual revenue was $62.8 million with a difference of 3.4 percent or just over $2 million. The positive variance was due in part to special education aid, which is usually budgeted conservatively, and to increased student enrollment.

For expenditures the district had budgeted $61.8 million. Actual expenditures were lower at $60 million for a difference of $1.8 million or 2.8 percent. This variance was due to some constructions expenses originally budgeted for 2013-14 being moved to the current year’s budget. The district, on a cost-per-student basis, continues to spend just below the state average in the areas of administration and regular instruction.

By spending less than budgeted, the district added $2.8 million to the fund balance. This puts the district at 18.5 percent for its unassigned general fund balance for the first time in the last five last years. School Board policy calls for a minimum unassigned general fund balance of 17 percent with the goal of 25 percent.

The district received a clean, unqualified opinion, which means the financial statements have been prepared using accepted accounting principles and do not contain misstatement.

The complete audit and the executive summary will be available on the district’s website

District property tax levy decreases for third year in a row

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Moorhead Area Public Schools’ property tax levy will decrease by 1.78 percent for 2015, according to Assistant Superintendent Brandon Lunak. Most of the decrease is because the district refinanced a portion of its long-term debt in January to save approximately $3.8 million in interest payments over seven years.

Following a presentation by Lunak at the Dec. 15 School Board meeting, board members approved a resolution to certify the district’s 2014 Payable 2015 Property Tax Levy, which provides revenue for the 2015-16 school year. The total levy amount is $13.3 million, which is a decrease of $237,029 or 1.78 percent from the 2014 tax levy.

Over the last three years, Moorhead Area Public Schools has decreased its levy by more than $1 million. The district’s property tax levy decreased by 2.5 percent ($350,493) for 2013. For 2014, the district’s property tax levy decreased by 3.1 percent ($435,536).

Lunak noted that the district has reduced the levy while adhering to the five priority areas outlined for the 2010 operating levy referendum. The operating levy has allowed the district to meet the first priority area of providing a source of stable revenue and avoiding further reductions. Additionally, the district continues to address the other four operating levy priority areas: funding classroom teachers and world language teachers, implementing all-day kindergarten and updating technology.

Most of the change in the levy amount is because of the refunding of the district’s debt, which decreased the debt service levy. Other reductions were from decreases related to adjustments for the prior year, community service, and the operating referendum levy, which was offset by an increase in state aid. Increases were seen in other local levies such as the health and safety levy to cover qualifying capital projects, and the lease levy, which is being used to fund part of the classroom additions at Robert Asp Elementary and Probstfield Center for Education.

Factors that affect whether a tax bill for an individual property increases or decreases include changes to a property’s value, changes to the total value of all property in the district, and increases or decreases in levy amounts caused by changes in state funding formulas, local needs and costs, voter-approved referendums and other factors. Lunak noted that the district does not have any control over individual property and district property values being adjusted.

Included in this year’s hearing was information about the economic development property tax abatement that the City of Moorhead, Clay County and Moorhead Area Public Schools approved in September 2012. The district’s estimated abatement for the 2014 assessment is $45,414.14 for the 98 properties (88 new and 10 remodeled) that qualified for the abatement. The actual amount will be included in next year’s levy.

As a normal course of business, the board approved the maximum for the preliminary levy in September. Certifying the maximum for the preliminary levy allowed the district to make adjustments before the final levy was certified on Dec. 15.

A revised budget for fiscal year 2015 will be brought to the board in January. Next year’s budget will be adopted in June 2015.

School Board hears update on facilities planning process

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

On Nov. 24, the School Board received an update on the district’s facilities planning process and task force’s work from Judy Hoskens, a principal at Cuningham Group, which is leading the collaborative process. Read more.

Moorhead School Board member Bill Tomhave named to All-State School Board

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Moorhead School Board member Dr. Bill Tomhave is one of seven board members in the state to be named to the 2015 All-State School Board, which is the Minnesota School Boards Association’s (MSBA) most prestigious award. Read more.

Two incumbents, one new member elected to School Board

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Incumbents Laurie Johnson and William K. “Bill” Tomhave will be joined on the School Board by new member Mark Altenburg. The three were elected to four-year terms on the School Board following the Nov. 4 election.

Johnson received 4,344 votes to be reelected to a second term. Tomhave with 3,355 votes was reelected to his fourth term.

Mark Altenburg, a former Moorhead City Council member, received 4,366 votes to be elected to a first term on the board.

The new board members will take their seats on the board at the first meeting in January 2015.

Other candidates were Cassidy Bjorklund, who received 2,018 votes; Melissa Burgard, who received 1,733 votes; Brian Doucette, who received 881 votes; Scot W. Hagen, who received 1,774 votes; Ryan Jensen, who received 1,321 votes; David Marquardt: who received 2,765 votes; Karen Stensgard, who received 2,308 votes; and Karla Swenson, who received 2,638 votes.

Results were canvassed at the School Board meeting on Nov. 10.

The Moorhead School Board is made up of seven residents of Independent School District 152 who are elected at large to four-year terms.

Unofficial results announced for School Board election

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Unofficial results of the Moorhead School Board election held Nov. 4 are: *Mark Altenburg: 4,367; Cassidy Bjorklund: 2,019; Melissa Burgard: 1,733; Brian Doucette: 881; Scot W. Hagen: 1,774; Ryan Jensen: 1,322; *Laurie A. Johnson: 4,344; David Marquardt: 2,765; Karen Stensgard: 2,308; Karla Swenson: 2,638; *William K. “Bill” Tomhave: 3,355. Results are unofficial until canvassing on Nov. 10. Read more.

Facilities task force determines facilities standards at October meeting

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Members of Moorhead Area Public Schools’ facilities task force spent their October meetings learning about district initiatives and developing facilities standards using the vision and principles developed by the task force in September. Read more.