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Mohonasen school board adopts budget

The Mohonasen School Board unanimously adopted the district's $41.94 million proposed budget at its meeting on Monday, April 21.

The proposed budget represents a 4 percent increase over the $40.3 million 2007-2008 budget.

Officials also project a 2.6 percent tax levy increase from $20.8 million in 2007-2008 to $21.36 million in 2008-2009.

Superintendent Kathleen Spring touted the fact that the tax levy increase is the lowest it has been in more than 10 years and that the budget's percentage of increase is the lowest in five years.

Spring said that tax rate information might not be available until August.

The budget process went very well this year, said Spring. "We're very committed to balancing a budget that keeps programs for our students and is something our residents can really afford."

This year, Mohonasen received a record $18.92 million in state aid, said Spring.

The state aid falls into several categories, including aid for BOCES programs, technology and hardware, and building aid.

The district will also receive $12.49 million in Foundation aid in 2008-2009, up from $11.1 million last year. Spring said that Foundation aid can be spent on anything from programs to salaries to employee benefits.

Spring said she credits an increase in state aid and a fiscally conservative approach as reasons for the relatively mild tax levy increase.

The budget will go up for public vote on Tuesday, May 20. If the budget is defeated, the district will have the option of sending its adopted budget out for a second vote or adopting a contingency budget of $41.74 million.

Spring stressed that under a contingency budget, the district would have to cut non-contingency expenditures, such as student supplies, community use of school buildings and grounds, in addition to certain equipment purchases.

While the board said they are in the process of making budget presentations to small groups of residents in hopes of fostering open discussion about the budget process and its impact on area taxpayers, no district residents spoke on the budget at Monday's meeting.

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