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Perham school levy jumps 19 percent; Voter-approved funds account for most of that increase

The Perham-Dent school board has approved a preliminary levy, payable in 2013, of 19.4 percent more than the current levy.

This sharp increase is mostly due to the referendum approved by voters earlier this year. Without that referendum, the overall levy would have increased by .78 percent.

The referendum was approved last April, bringing $440,000 to the school district to pay for technology improvements over the next five years.

The board will hear public comments about the levy at a Truth and Taxation meeting Dec. 19 at 6 p.m.

The preliminary levy was approved at a school board meeting last week. At that same meeting, board members agreed on the need for a backup Internet service provider, in case the district's primary connection through Arvig ever falters.

Board member Jim Rieber, who works at Perham Health, said the hospital has a backup system. He said that during a recent Internet failure, other businesses were down for half a day, while the hospital was only down for eight seconds.

No decisions were immediately made on how to get the backup connection, but board members agreed it needed to be addressed.

In other school district news, Heart of the Lakes Elementary School Principal Kari Yates said the fourth grade orchestra program began last week, with more student interest than ever.

Prairie Wind Middle School Principal, Scott Bjerke, said the middle school has begun conversations with St. Henry's and St. Paul's schools about a math collaboration for all sixth graders.

Currently, all three schools teach different math programs. However, since all the kids come together in seventh grade, Bjerke would like them to be at the same level at that time.