Osakis School Board approves 2.9% tax levy

Board will hold special meeting next week to discuss open board member seat after board member's death.

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Osakis School Board members approved the district’s property tax levy at the Truth in Taxation meeting Monday, Dec. 14.

The levy was set at $1,836,059.88, an increase of 2.9% or $52,193.97. Last year’s levy was $1,783,865.27.

The total $1.836 million levy is divided among the general fund, community service fund, debt service and OPEB debt service, which is for retirement. Here’s a look at the individual amounts:

  • General fund levy – $742,486

  • Community service fund levy – $47,748

  • Debt service fund levy – $1,045,824

  • OPEB debt service fund levy – $0

Osakis Superintendent Randy Bergquist provided information at the meeting to school board members. No residents were present at the meeting.
During his presentation, Bergquist said that the state Legislature and governor establish overall tax policies and they are the sole authorities to create school levy options. They also control school levy parameters including the amount of state aid a school district receives and the tax bases used for levies.

In a handout Bergquist provided, which had information provided by the Minnesota Rural Education Association, property taxes are determined by several factors, including market value for each parcel of property and certain formulas set by the state Legislature.


The school levy is set by state formula and can also be voter approved, such as an operating referendum or building bonds.

Bergquist said the Osakis School District does not have an operating referendum because the school district has been “fiscally responsible for a number of years.”

He also noted that the majority of funding for the Osakis School District comes from the state (74%) with other dollars coming from federal (5%), local property tax tax levy (14%) and other local and county dollars (7%).

The school board members also set a date for a work session and special board meeting for Monday, Dec. 21, at 5:30 p.m. They will be discussing several items, including the open school board seat. School board member Chris George, 49, passed away Saturday, Dec. 5, after a heart attack.

George was an Osakis native, a star athlete for the Silverstreaks and was the third generation of electricians to run the George Electric business.

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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