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Alexandria School Board approves a $17,761,726 preliminary levy

The levy is a 9.4% increase from last year's final levy.

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ALEXANDRIA — After two years of a levy decrease, the Alexandria School District will see a levy increase.

Trevor Peterson, director of business services for the school district, went over the preliminary levy numbers with the school board at the Monday, Sept. 26, regular school board meeting.

The proposed preliminary levy amount – $17,761,726 – is a 9.4% increase from last year’s final levy. The increase amounts to about $1.526 million dollars.

This is the 2023 levy, which will impact the district’s 2023-24 fiscal year.

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Trevor Peterson

One funding source – OPEB – is responsible for the majority of the significant change this year, said Peterson. OPEB is other post-employment benefits, other than pension distributions that school employees could receive once they retire. It can include life insurance, health insurance and deferred compensation.

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School districts are required to fund two years of general fund OPEB expenditures before receiving levy revenue, which results in a $1.4 million increase for the payable 2023 levy.

The remainder of the levy calculations represent an increase of only $123,680 – 0.76%.

In a news release from the school district, it was stated that approximately 36.2% of the levy is for debt issuances for building bonds, while 3.6% is for Community Service and the remaining 60.2% (about $10.7 million) is for the general/OPEB fund.

The Minnesota Department of Education computes the levy limitation for each school district based on current legislation and formulas. School boards can approve levy amounts up to but not exceeding the limits established by the state.

Peterson asked the board to approve the maximum levy as once the preliminary levy is set, it cannot go up, but can go down.

The final levy, which again can be decreased, will be approved in December.

“Our levy is well under the state average,” Peterson told school board members. “The district continues to do a good job.”

In other school board action

As part of the consent agenda at the regular board meetings, the school board members approve hirings, retirements, resignations, leave of absences and terminations.

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Several staff member and co-curricular staff member resignations were approved at the Monday meeting, including a resignation from Kevin Engebretson, an assistant football coach.

An Echo Press article dated Sept. 16, 2022, reported that Engebretson, a long-time assistant coach for the district, was no longer coaching the district because of a complaint made against him.

Alexandria Public School officials say that as of Sept. 1, Kevin Engebretson is no longer coaching after a complaint was made against him on Aug. 31.

It was not known at the time whether Engebretson was fired from the district or if he resigned. At the school board meeting it was confirmed that he was not terminated but had resigned.

According to an email that was first sent out to football parents and then later sent to all parents, the complaint was reported to law enforcement and the school district was fully cooperating with the Alexandria Police Department. The matter is currently still under investigation.

The newspaper called and texted Engebretson, but he hasn't responded.

Charges may still be pending, but as it is still an open investigation, no further information is available at this time.

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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