Herald JournalWinsted-Lester Prairie Journal, July 29, 2002

Operating referendum for LP unlikely for fall election

By Julie Yurek

The general consensus of the Lester Prairie School Board last Monday was not to pursue an operating referendum for the 2002-03 school year.

The board discussed what would be needed if it were to go forward with a referendum, however, it was agreed that it would probably be the 2003-04 school year instead.

The board has until Sept. 7 to decide on a referendum, Supt. Dr. James Redfield said.

Referendums can only be voted on at the general election in November this year, he said. "Normally it can be voted on at the primary in September, but this year it is blacked out due to the reorganization of the state."

Board member Barry Kyllo explained that answers are needed for five important questions in a referendum:

· what is the proposal;

· how will the funds from the referendum be used;

· why is the proposal needed;

· how much will it cost;

· and what will happen if the proposal is not approved.

Voters must also know that the referendum money is not for the current school year, it's for the following year, board member Nancy Krull said.

"We can't afford to have another one not pass," Redfield said.

The major reason for not having one this year is if a joint use facility is approved, voters may be asked for money again two years in a row, Krull said

"I don't think the board is ready . . . this fall," Kyllo said. "The idea of what will happen if the proposal does not succeed has to be clear, has to be a fact, and has to be not a threat."

Board members did not think there was enough time between now and the fall election to inform the public adequately.

"We need to provide facts and figures," Krull said.

"We would need to have a plan if the referendum failed," Kyllo said.

"Even if we could get ourselves organized to go out for one this year, we can't go out for enough to operate a joint use facility," Krull said. "Then say (for example) two years later, try to go back again after bonding, there's only so many times you can go to that well."

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