Administrator’s Corner: For good stewards of tax dollars

Published 10:49 pm Friday, February 2, 2018

Administrator’s Corner by Lori Volz

The Albert Lea Area Schools District 241 has a history of strong financial stability.

Lori Volz

The general operating fund has a very strong fund balance equaling one and a half months of expenditures, as per board policy. This stable financial status has held steady over the past nine years. 

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Providing excellent programming for our students is our main objective. Obtaining educational program grants and maximizing funding streams supports this effort, as well as the operating referendum renewal passed by the voters back in 2013.

Our operating referendum is slightly less than the state average per pupil rate. Operating referendums are crucial to school district operations due to the state general education revenue formula not keeping pace with inflation. 

In fact, the general education formula would have to increase by 9.4 percent in order to keep pace with inflation since FY03. In light of these facts, the level of financial stability achieved by District 241 is even more impressive. 

Effective financial management enabled the district to pursue only one referendum vote to the public since 2009, which is the lowest number of elections held in the Big Nine Conference.

Local school property taxes have seen slight decreases, as well as slight increases over the years. If the proposed special election passes for the Hammer Field upgrades/Halverson Elementary School gym and other enhancements, the taxes will remain at the current level. If the vote fails, then local school taxes will decrease.

Lori Volz is the deputy superintendent of Albert Lea Area Schools.