by Mike Knaak
Installing lights and spectator seating at two high school athletic fields moved ahead June 21 when the school board authorized seeking bids for up to $1 million for the improvements. The money comes from unspent funds in the building bond account that has been saved on lower-than-anticipated expenses and boosted by higher-than-expected interest income on the bond money.
In other financial matters, the board also approved the final 2020-21 budget and a preliminary budget for 2021-22. Director of Business Services Joe Prom reported on the finances and enrollment. The district is anticipating 4,109 students enrolling this fall, compared with 4,092 in the revised total for this school year.
Both years’ budgets were boosted by funding from the federal CARES Act and American Rescue Plan stimulus funding. The district received about $2.7 million from the two acts with a range of allowable uses including COVID-19 response items, summer-school programming, mental-health needs and strategies to offset learning loss as the result of the pandemic.
The Minnesota Legislature is facing a June 30 deadline to pass a state budget, which includes school funding.
The district’s unassigned fund balance will increase from 12.8 percent of expenses to 13.64 percent or an amount of $5,816,698. The district sets a minimum of 10 percent as its unassigned fund balance. The district spends about $60 million a year.