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Current members of the Frazee school board include (front from left): Jim Nelson, Matt Bauer, Steve Jepson; (back from left) Rick Ziegler, Ken Fett, Tammie Nunn and Don Trieglaff. Pippi Mayfield/Tribune

Frazee School Board votes to decrease tax levy

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In a world of everything going up in cost, the Frazee-Vergas School Board is bringing a little decrease in costs to district taxpayers.

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Last month, the board voted to decrease the levy 11.6 percent because of debts it was paying off, falling interest rates and simply being in better financial shape.

This week, the board voted to lower the levy even more -- it's now decreased 13.24 percent.

"This is a very positive thing," Superintendent Chuck Cheney said.

He said the extra decrease came from the reduction in interest rates the district was paying, and that the numbers hadn't been figured correctly last month because not all the necessary information was available yet.

Business office contract

In July of 2011, when the district signed a contact with Lakes Country Service Co-op, the agreement was for $106,625 for 1.4 full-time staff. To get things in order though, there ended up being two fill-time employees in Frazee.

The plan was to keep two full-time employees for the time being and try to whittle that down to the 1.4 full-time as originally planned.

The cost of the staff increased slightly to $109,000.

Now that it's time to renew the contract, Cheney said that Lakes Country Service Co-op has basically said that the cost to the district needs to increase to support two full-time staff or they will have to end the relationship with the district.

Cheney recommended paying the extra cost to keep two full-timers on, because with a new superintendent being hired for the upcoming school year, the help will be needed.

The board decided to stay with the firm and the two employees, so the new contract will be $115,000, about a 5 percent increase.

"I was pleased with the numbers, personally," Cheney said. "It could have been a lot higher."

He added that this is still $20,000 less than the district was spending a few years ago -- the 2010-11 term -- with two business managers.

School dismissal

As a matter of procedure, the school district has changed the determination of when to dismiss school for a sporting event.

In the past, when teams have made it to the state tournament, the district would allow school to be closed for the day if 80 students had signed up to attend the state tournament as fans. Students in 7-12 grades are counted, not elementary students, and not those students on the team.

Monday though, the district agreed to change that number. Now 55 students must sign up to attend the tournament. It's considered a procedural change and not a policy change though.

"It's not about the size of the team, but the interest of people going," Cheney said is the reason for not counting students on the team toward the 55.

He said it's a fairness issue in the sense that the football team is obviously much larger than the dance team, and if counted, the football team would take much less fan participation to fill the 55 bodies needed to cancel school.

Reorganization

Being the first meeting of the year, the board elected -- or re-elected in this case -- officers for the 2013 year.

Matt Bauer was elected chairman, Rich Zeigler was elected vice chairman, Ken Fett was elected clerk, and Jim Nelson was elected treasurer.

Also at the start of Monday's meeting, incumbent Steve Jepson and new board members Tammie Nunn and Don Trieglaff were all sworn in.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.

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