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Perham-Dent School Board prepares new round of levy talks

Perham-Dent Superintendent Tamara Uselman had one final thing to say at her last school board meeting on June 15.

"I have to walk out the door with saying this to you: You have a funding problem that's looming like a monster on a short horizon," she told board members.

The comment was made as the board was going over the 2011-12 proposed budget, which was unanimously passed.

According to Uselman, the district will be hurting if a levy isn't passed in November.

"You have to have a levy," she said. "Just keep telling them (the public) the truth."

While the district isn't certain how it will be affected by school funding in the conclusion of the Legislative session, it is certain the funding will not keep up with inflation.

The proposed budget will not become final until a decision at the Legislature is made. According to the bill that was passed by the House and Senate, but was vetoed by the governor, the district would have seen a reduction of about $30,000. That same bill would cut integration aid for the district, but until a bill is passed, there's no way of knowing how much. What is certain is that the district won't be seeing an increase in revenue.

That, along with a projected downward trend in the school's student population, attributes to the long-term budget issue. Funding is dispersed to schools from the state based on a per-student formula.

The board is currently looking at setting up planning meetings in July to discuss possible levy options. No official decision by the board has been made.