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Hancock School Board decides to use different levy option

The Hancock School District will take advantage of a change in state law that allows for school boards to levy without holding an election.

Following the 2013 legislative session, school boards across the state have the authority to approve or convert up to $300 per pupil unit of a voter-approved levy to board-approved levy. This levy would continue for as long as the board wants, but must be renewed every five years.

On a unanimous vote, the Hancock School Board on July 17 approved the conversion of $300 per pupil unit of a voter-approved referendum levy to board-approved levy.

The district currently has a levy of $329.91 per pupil unit that will expire at the end of this year.

Superintendent Loren Hacker said converting to a board-approved levy allows the district to keep some of the referendum dollars without the expense of holding an election this year. He said that it costs the district approximately $10 per registered voter to hold a referendum by mail.

Allowing the $29.91 from the current levy to expire will result in $8,000 less in taxes for the district.

After looking at all the numbers, Hacker said he felt it just didn't pay to hold a referendum.

Hacker stated that this is similar to the levy authority that cities and counties currently have to raise the funds they need to operate.

Board members discussed the pros and cons of converting the levy dollars, noting that they are in the process of reviewing the district's facility needs and may hold a referendum in 2018 for construction costs to add on to the school. Consensus was that this was the most efficient way to continue to receive levy funds.

In other business, the board approved contracts for two new teachers. Ashley Lorentz will teach fifth grade and Andrew Whalen was hired for the physical education/health position. Lorentz is from Verndale and graduated this spring from Minnesota State University-Moorhead.

Whalen is from Larchwood, Iowa and recently graduated from South Dakota State University.

 With these two hires, the district has all of its faculty for the 2017-2018 school year.