Blue Earth Area reducing its levy

BLUE EARTH – Blue Earth Area School Board has approved a 2014 property tax levy of negative 2 percent, or $33,000.

Al Wilhelmi, fiscal services coordinator for the district, presented the Truth in Taxation information Monday. No members of the public attended the meeting.

“The bulk of the district’s expenses fall in the general fund,” Wilhelmi noted.

About 61 percent of the levy will go to that fund, about 8 percent to Community Services, and about 31 percent to debt service.

“Last year, the board set the maximum [levy] allowed by the state,” said Superintendent Evan Gough. “The reason for the decrease is due to a greater level of support by the state.”

The levy passed unanimously.

In other school news, work continues on the eighth-grade consolidation. The district is considering moving its eighth-graders to the high school.

“[It’s] one big jigsaw puzzle,” said Rich Schneider, high school principal.

Melissa McGuire, K-8 principal, explained how officials have tried to mesh students’ schedules with shared staff duties.

Schneider said the high-schoolers were asked to take a look at the situation with shared staff and “found holes in it.”

In other business, Al Cue, assistant K-8 principal, reported that elementary students collected 2,000 items for the food shelf as part of the KBEW/Darling International You Can Make A Difference Camp Out food/toy drive.

“That can make a big impact, especially during the holiday season,” he said. “It’s fun to see elementary kids get excited, knowing they’re doing such a positive thing for the community.”