The Pine River-Backus School Board approved a preliminary tax levy during a very brief board meeting Monday, Sept. 17.

The preliminary 2018-pay 2019 levy is $1,787,198, a $27,298 or 1.55 percent increase. The increase is due to an increase in property values, though the school district actually had a slight decrease in pupil units, which factors into some of the school's funding.

School Business Manager Jolene Bengtson explained by email that the district had underlevied last year in Local Optional Revenue and Tree Growth, but in the preliminary levy was prepared with the maximum amounts. For the 2017-pay 2018 levy, the district had set the LOR at $395 per pupil unit. The maximum LOR is $424 per pupil unit. The district had declined revenue from tree growth at that same time.

The district could possibly under levy again this year. It is common practice among many school districts and municipalities to prepare a preliminary levy with maximum levy amounts in September because the final levy, certified in December, can be lower than the preliminary, but not higher. It is common in those cases for the final levy to be less than the preliminary levy.

In other business Monday, the board:

• Hired Ashley Smith as paraprofessional and Kory Hole as custodian.

• Approved a child care leave of absence for Rachel Wheeler, early childhood special education teacher.

• Approved the fiscal year 2018 audit report.

• Rescheduled the October meeting back to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, in the high school media center.