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More students equals good news for DL

The Detroit Lakes School Board got a little dose of holiday cheer at Monday's board meeting, courtesy of Acting Superintendent Lowell Niklaus and Business Manager Ted Heisserer.

With district enrollment counts starting to stabilize for the year, Niklaus reported that early projections of a substantial boost in kindergarten numbers have held true. Not only that, but enrollment for grades 1-5 is also up significantly.

As of December, kindergarten enrollment is up 20 students from last year, and there are also 30 more students enrolled in grades 1-5 than initially projected.

"Our enrollment counts are holding," Niklaus said. "The numbers are quite good compared to what we had anticipated."

And that enrollment boost has translated into dollars. According to Heisserer, revised 2006-07 budget figures show that the district's general fund balance is now $153,831 in the black -- as in, total general fund revenues are now projected to exceed expenditures by nearly $154,000.

In May, the surplus of projected revenues over expenditures was much smaller, at $10,204 -- "which is, in essence, a balanced budget," Heisserer noted.

Though the increased general fund balance was good news, Heisserer also reported that preliminary data shows some cost containment measures will need to be taken by the end of the 2006-07 school year in order to balance the 2007-08 budget.

Part of the reason for this is that despite the upward trend in enrollment for 2006-07, the district is still anticipated to lose a total of 100 students in the next three years.

In other business, the school board:

• Gave final approval to the district's 2006, payable 2007 certified property tax levy.

The final certified levy of $3,175,151 is unchanged from preliminary figures approved in September, Heisserer noted. It reflects an 8.77 percent overall increase from the previous year's levy.

• Approved a contract with Kern, DeWenter Viere, Ltd., for conducting the 2006-07 school audit, at a cost of $13,750.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454