Waconia Public Schools set preliminary levy

Along with cooler air and falling leaves, it’s the time of year when school boards traditionally approve preliminary levies for upcoming budgets.
In Waconia, the Waconia School Board approved its preliminary levy during a special meeting held on Sept. 24. The board approved a $10,630,715.05 preliminary levy for the 2013-14 budget, which begins July 1, 2013. The figure is the maximum amount that can be levied. The amount may decrease but can’t increase before it’s finalized.
The preliminary levy represents a 5.12 percent increase (approximately $517,000) on the levy from 2012-13 budget, which totaled $10,112,741.82.
According to Todd Swanson, the Director of Finance and Operations, the increase is related to a combination of student population growth and an increase in the district’s scheduled debt service payments. Swanson also noted that additional money is earmarked toward the lease of the ALC building, which is new this year.
The district will hold a Truth-in-Taxation meeting regarding the levy at 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 10. Also that night, the board will vote on the final levy amount.
The board’s next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Oct. 8.

Sept. 10 meeting
At the school board’s meeting on Sept. 10:
• The board acknowledged the 2012 Teachers of the Year (Jodi Hunter and Karla Hormann) and Kim Hinderaker for achieving a Master’s Degree. Hinderaker teaches special education at Bayview Elementary School.
• The board welcomed Paul Henn, the new president of the Waconia Education Association (WEA). Henn, who replaces Brenda Grams, told the board that he is looking forward to taking on this new role and is excited to work with all “the good people of District 110.”
• The board also recognized teachers who recently achieved Continuing Contract (a.k.a. tenure): Erin Busse, Kristin Dyrhaug, Evan Fillingane, Michael Hamann, Cassandra Jimenez, Tracy Johnson, Colleen Peterson, Carl Pierson, Kelly Jo Raether, Lindsay Schuette, Erin Treffry, Kris Vogeler, Ashley Westphal, Rachel Worm, and Colleen Reich.
• A number of donations were noted, including $5,000 from the Bayview PTO ($3,000 for classroom materials and $2,000 for various programs), $13,180 also from the Bayview PTO (playground maintenance, Accelerated Reader, school supplies, and T-shirts for all students), and $5,609 from the Southview PTO (first grade commons cabinets).
• The board noted its appreciation to Waconia Dodge for its $1 lease of a truck that is used by the high school’s show choir program to haul its trailer. Waconia Dodge also has a similar arrangement with the high school’s marching band.
On a related note, the district clarified that in the case of an accident involving the vehicle, the district’s insurance would cover it as opposed to the insurance of the driver, since the vehicle is strictly being used for a school activity.
• Barb Hone with the Arts Consortium of Carver County gave a brief presentation and bestowed honorary Consortium memberships on all Waconia teachers who teach an art genre, whether it be art, band, drama, etc. Hone said teachers are instrumental in introducing young people to the arts throughout the county.
• Leslie Jensen passed away at age 53 after a nine-year battle with cancer on Sept. 6.
During the meeting, Superintendent Dr. Nancy Rajanen and Chairwoman Teresa Kittridge both acknowledged Jensen’s passing and talked about her many contributions to the school district, which included the creation of the district’s CommuniCAT newsletter, referendum materials, and work on the Waconia Edible Classroom initiative.