The Richardton-Taylor Public School Board approved the district's mill levy for 2019 at its district property tax meeting, Wednesday.

Property taxes

The district will not increase the mills it levies this year from its previous amount of 138 mills. Like last year, it will levy 70 mills for its general fund, 10 for its building fund, 46 for sinking and interest and 12 for its miscellaneous fund. The school's portion of property taxes will thus remain the same as they were last year.

All combined, the district will receive $1.8 million in property tax revenue.

The district saw an increase in its taxable valuation, which went from $12.7 million last year to to $13.2 million this year.

Playground

Elementary Principal Scott Bohn said the high school's STEM class is going to create designs for a new playground and consider the cost associated with them. Jennifer Jung, principal of 4-6 graders, said she spoke with the STEM teacher Rhonda Kuntz about the plan.

"They're hoping that they can come up with their plan by the end of September ... and they're doing surveys of the elementary (students) to find out what they would really like to see. The plan is that we will be writing a grant to Bremer Bank for that whole thing, is the plan, along with probably what PAWS generates," Jung told the board.

Jung said there must be a community part to the playground for the grant proposal.

In the meantime, PAWS will contribute temporary equipment for kids to use.

Safety plans

The school district will be updating its safety plans.

"We finalized our emergency operation plans. It was a very, very good discussion. I felt very good after that meeting. I think we're headed in the right direction ... He was a highway patrolman for 20 years, and he was in the Air Force. He was an SRO. He was on the (police department) at the time when Columbine happened," Superintendent Brent Bautz said.

Music grant

During the last Legislation, $800,000 was set aside for music education. That money was divided between the state's schools based on enrollment. Richardton-Taylor's share of that was $2,100.

"It has to be tied to student behavior and mental health, and you have to report the outcome," Bautz said. "(Roughrider Education Services Program) called me and said 'Hey, we're going to pool all of our money and then they were looking at these two different programs ... and if they pooled all their money, then RESP would take care of all of the training."

The school already has a music program, which Bautz said he believes does have a social-emotional component, though he's not sure if they have that package.

"I'm really disappointed that they attached these strings ... You adopt this program, and then there's no more money," he said.

Bautz and the board expressed the wish that the Legislature would have appropriated the money for music education in general.

"You know how much money we spend on repairing, rental ... or to buy a new saxophone for your band department?" Bautz said.

The next school board meeting will be held October 9, 2019 at 7 p.m.