The Wrenshall School Board voted unanimously Monday, Sept. 16, to set its 2020 preliminary levy to the maximum allowed by the state.

The move, recommended by the Minnesota Department of Education and Wrenshall business manager Angela Anderson, allows the district some flexibility as it prepares the preliminary 2020-21. The levy can later be adjusted down, but it can’t be raised.

The board also declared its intent to issue general obligation bonds to make health and safety improvements to the facility in Wrenshall.

The bonds would pay for replacing the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system as well as asbestos abatement in the building safe.

The action is more of a backup plan in case consolidation talks with the Carlton School District stall again, Vice Chair Janaki Fisher-Merritt said.

The Wrenshall School Board continues discussions with the Carlton School Board regarding consolidation of the two districts. The two entities have had preliminary talks that would merge the districts, with an elementary school at South Terrace Elementary in Carlton and a middle and high school in Wrenshall.

The needed repairs would be addressed in an overall renovation and expansion of the building to accommodate the additional students from Carlton in a consolidated district.

There is a series of joint board and public meetings scheduled over the next two months to present the needed improvements to both buildings, cost estimates and tax impacts to both communities.

The Wrenshall board will need to make a decision by December whether or not to issue the bonds. Board members will use public feedback at the meetings to make a decision whether to move forward with another referendum or issue the health and safety bonds, Fisher-Merritt said.

Wrenshall School's Truth in Taxation meeting is set for Dec. 16, but the board has not yet set a time.