The Detroit Lakes School Board finalized its 2020 property tax levy Monday night, Dec. 16. The levy was certified at $8,797,867, which reflects an increase of $82,365, or just under 1%.

There were no comments from the audience at the public hearing just prior to certification of the total levy, which reflects a 7% increase in the general fund, but decreases in both the community service (-4.6%) and debt service(-5.6%) funds, resulting in a mere .94% increase in the total levy amount.

Also at Monday's meeting, the board approved the results of the school district's 2018-19 financial audit as presented by Derek Flanagan of Eide Bailly, the accounting firm hired by the board to complete the audit.

Flanagan reported that the district had received a "clean," or unmodified, opinion from his firm, which means they found that the financial statements prepared by the district's business office staff "were fairly presented, did not contain material misstatements and were prepared using generally acceptable (i.e., GAAP) accounting principles."

Eide Bailly also issued a similar unmodified opinion with regard to how the district managed the federal funds it received for school building improvements, Flanagan reported.

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Flanagan also noted that the only real audit findings they issued were with regard to a lack of segregation of duties — which they find in "about 90%" of the districts they audit, he said — and one incident of improper use of student activity funds, which he said was the result of more stringent standards being implemented than in the past.

Following Monday's regular meeting, the board also held a special work session to develop first-round interview questions, conduct interview training, and set the schedule for the rest of the superintendent hiring process.

The board has set a Jan. 20 deadline for superintendent applications, with applicant screening to take place at a special board meeting Jan. 27, and the first round of interviews to be conducted on Feb. 1. Second round interviews are set to take place on Feb. 5, with contract approval anticipated to take place at the board's Feb. 10 meeting.

Superintendent Doug Froke announced early this fall that he would be leaving his position with the district at the end of the current school year.