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Perham school district will temporarily cover tech costs

Preemptive spending on technology will create a temporary deficit in the Perham-Dent School District's general fund.

At a meeting last week, the school board approved a preliminary 2012-2013 budget with a general fund deficit of $781,919.

Superintendent Mitch Anderson explained that preliminary expenditures are high because of the district's payments toward technology improvements, including infrastructure upgrades, the purchase of equipment for iENGAGE and the necessary increase in technology staffing.

iENGAGE is the district's plan to provide iPads for students and staff.

A levy referendum passed in April will provide the school district with $440,000 a year for the next five years; however, those funds do not begin until the 2013-2014 school year. Once that money starts coming in, the district will be able to essentially pay itself back, relieving the deficit.

The board had agreed earlier this year to spend down its fund balance in order to start the iENGAGE initiative immediately.

The preliminary budget is a starting point based on estimated enrollment numbers, estimated government revenue, and known board-approved costs.

School districts have to set a preliminary budget by July 1, according to state law.