Last Year’s Enrollment Drop Drags $ 196,000 in Proposed Tax Levy for Detroit Lakes School District



Detroit Lakes Public Schools lost 238 students in the 2020-21 school year, and while enrollment numbers on this month’s opening day showed an encouraging rebound, declining enrollment has was the primary factor behind the school board’s approval of a preliminary district property tax that is approximately $ 196,000 less than the previous year’s total.

At its meeting on Monday, September 20, the Detroit Lakes School Board certified a maximum preliminary levy of 2021, payable in 2022, which at the time of the meeting was $ 8.82 million, a decrease of 2.17 % from the previous year’s levy of just over $ 9. million. The final district levy figure for next year will be certified at the board meeting in December.

Jason Kuehn, the school district’s new finance and operations director, said there would likely be adjustments before the tax was finalized in December. The final certification of the tax will take place after a public hearing on the 2022 tax and budget proposal, which is scheduled for Monday, December 20 at 6 p.m.

After the proposed levy certification, Superintendent Mark Jenson has had encouraging news for the board regarding this year’s registrations.

As of Thursday, September 9, day one enrollment figures for the district stood at 2,833 (not including non-resident students attending the Detroit Lakes school through a tuition fee agreement). While K-12 enrollments in the district have yet to reach a total of 2,954 students in 2019-20, “we’re bringing them back, which is nice to see,” Jenson said.

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Also at Monday’s meeting, district resident Gary Coson spoke during the public “comments and requests” portion of the agenda, speaking about “critical race theory” and way that “some form of it has been taught (in American schools) for decades.”

Coson spoke about the importance of the Civil Rights Act and how the CRT “totally violates” the intent of that act, teaching African Americans and other minority students that they shouldn’t be treated like that. same way, but better than their non-minority counterparts.

After his remarks, which lasted just over five minutes, the jury members made no further comment, and no one else in the audience spoke.

In other matters, counsel:

  • Discussed superintendent, school board and professional development goals for the coming year.
  • Approved construction change orders of $ 38,409 for college and high school upgrades.
  • I heard a report from Luisa Walz, the new student representative at the school board, who explained how pigeons accidentally escaped into the high school building last week, but were captured and removed without incident.



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