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Local school tax levy may be 1 percent lower

Perham area taxpayers will be paying about 1 percent less for school operations this year. The preliminary levy was set by the Perham-Dent school board at the Sept. 26 meeting. A total of $2.94 million will be collected from district property own...

Perham area taxpayers will be paying about 1 percent less for school operations this year.

The preliminary levy was set by the Perham-Dent school board at the Sept. 26 meeting.

A total of $2.94 million will be collected from district property owners, payable in 2008-2009. With a total school budget of $15.3 million, local taxpayers are picking up about 12.1 percent of the total budget. State funding sources represent about 85.4 percent of total revenues; and federal aid is about 2.5 percent of the revenue.

The 1 percent reduction is due, in large part, to the reduction in repayment of the debt for the extensive air quality installations, completed in 2006. Last year, more than $800,000 went to pay off that debt. Next year's payment of $450,000 will be the final payment, according to school business manager Christie Werner.

This is only the preliminary levy. There could be some changes as administrators and the board continue toward the final deadline. The levy must be authorized and submitted to the Otter Tail County Auditor's Office in December.

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NY Mills levy hike may be up to 15 percent

In neighboring New York Mills school district, the board approved a preliminary levy that is 15 percent higher than last year. The Mills school board set the levy at the maximum allowed by the state, though there may be reductions by the time the final levy is submitted to the county.

Last year, the Mills board approved a 4.3 percent levy increase.

A general increase in property values will account for much of the increase in revenue, noted Superintendent Todd Cameron at last week's school board session.

NY Mills market value increased about 14 percent, while the statewide increase in market value was about 11.8 percent.

Overall market values in the Perham-Dent district are probably similar to the 14 percent in the NY Mills area.

School's support staff get 6.8 percent

pay hike

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Custodians, secretaries, cleaners and kitchen staff will be receiving a 6.83 percent increase in their wage-benefit package over the next two years.

The two-year contract with the Minnesota School Employees Association's local unit was approved by the Perham-Dent school board at the Sept. 26 meeting.

The contract includes an increase in the school district's contribution to health insurance premiums. The school was paying up to $375 a month toward employees' health insurance under the previous contract. Under the 2007-2009 contract, the school's share will increase to $400 this year, and up to $425 for the 2008-2009 school year.

The school experienced a 19 percent increase in health insurance premiums, according to business manager Werner.

Teacher salary talks underway for

Perham-Dent

Teacher salary negotiations are in progress.

Talks are still in the early stages for the two-year contract, which includes the present school year and 2008-2009.

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Lead negotiator for the Perham-Dent school board is board member Dave Schornack.

Leading the Perham faculty in the talks is teacher Dave Knutson.

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