Weather Forecast


A small return on insurance funds

Based on a recommendation by business manager Jerry Anderson, the District 2155 board approved that insurance payments from a settlement with Riverport Insurance for a new Wadena-Deer Creek high school and middle school will be invested with the help of Public Financial Management.

"They operate in just about every state in the country," Anderson said. "They do bond sales besides investment advising."

The district has received $17 million. Another $20 million payment will arrive in July of 2011. The final payment of $12 million is due in January 2012.

"We have to try and earn something so hopefully the district would earn in excess of $20,000," Anderson said.

In addition to the insurance payments, the district is beginning to reap the benefits of a November 2009 vote to increase the operating levy.

This is the first full year that we will be realizing the additional funding from that levy," Anderson said. "It increased our referendum amounts in excess of $700,000."

Despite the added operating funds, District 2155 began planning Monday night for the anticipated round of budget cuts in 2011. The WDC administration will provide recommendations for the board's consideration at future meetings. The cuts will be finalized in May.

"We will need to decrease our budget even more," Anderson said, who considers the local operating level vote a Godsend. "The state aid hasn't increased for the last four years."

Declining enrollment and state aid shifts have forced school districts throughout the state to trim their budgets.

Carlson Highland auditor Heather Johnson drew some long faces from board members and administrators Monday night when she pointed out that the current 70-30 shift in state aid may become a 60-40 or even a 50-50 shift in coming years. The Carlson Highland audit report also observed that 65.62 percent of the district's funding comes from state aid.

The district has helped itself by retiring some debt. The levy limitation report before county auditor adjustments points to a decrease in the limitation of $203,683 from last year's figure of $1,737,677.

The district has also increased its unaudited unreserved general fund balance from $2,000 in 2007 to $664,000 in 2010.