Esko Schools preliminary tax levy expected to increase 5%

The school board set the levy at the maximum amount allowed on Monday.

Esko Public Schools
Esko Public Schools in Esko, Minnesota. (2019 file / Cloquet Pine Journal)
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ESKO — The Esko School Board unanimously approved its 2023 preliminary levy at a 5% increase over the previous year during a special meeting Monday, Sept. 26.

The 5% increase reflects a $106,614 increase in the levy, which raises it to $2,238,714. That's up from $2,132,099 the previous year.

Superintendent Aaron Fischer said it is always good when the district can keep its levy at a 5% increase or lower.

"It is what we expected, so we are very pleased as 5% or less was our goal," he said.

The increase in the levy comes from the district's typical programming Fischer said, but also includes a lease-levy for its proposed fitness center and Achievement and Integration program. Achievement and Integration is a state initiative aimed at leveling the playing field for students across racial, ethnic and economic lines, according to the Minnesota Department of Education website.


The increases were reflected in the district's general fund, which is expected to rise $255,172 to $1.60 million. That's up from $1.35 million the previous year.

The district saw a reduction in its debt service by 20.78%, or $149,387, from $718,756 to $569,369. The drop is the result of the sports complex being paid off. The facility includes the district's football and soccer field, track, and locker room building.

By approving the levy at the maximum, Fischer said it gives officials the ability to allocate the tax dollars should any unforeseen occurrences pop up before certification in December.

Fischer added that officials will have an update on the budget during the October school board meeting, as revenues and expenditures will be more flushed out with the start of the school year.

Charges in Carlton County, where the man was arrested with 11 pounds of methamphetamine, were dropped after federal charges were filed.

Dylan covers the local governments of Cloquet and Carlton County, as well as the Esko and Wrenshall school boards for the Cloquet Pine Journal.
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