Oct. 30, 2006

District going to voters for levy

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

The Dassel Cokato School District will be asking voters to vote “yes” for the levy Tuesday, Nov. 7. which will reduce class sizes, provide more educational opportunities and help with increased fuel costs.

The question that will be placed on the ballot is, “The board of Independent School District No. 466 (Dassel-Cokato) has proposed to increase its general education revenue by $325 per pupil. A portion of this proposed referendum revenue authorization would replace the school district’s prior authorization which has expired. The proposed referendum revenue authorization would increase each year by the rate of inflation and be applicable for seven years unless otherwise revoked or reduced as provided by law.”

Answer, either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the question, “Shall the increase in the revenue proposed by the board of Independent School District No. 466 be approved?”

The current levy in place is set to expire which is $127.18 per pupil. The district is asking to renew the levy with an addition of $197.82 per pupil for a total of 325 per pupil or $772,547 for seven years.

If the levy does not pass, $300,000 will have to be cut out of the general fund, in addition to the $700,000 that has been cut over the past three years.

Additional money will go toward reducing class sizes in both elementary schools. Currently, there are 28 students in fourth grade classrooms in Dassel. Last year, there were only 23 to 24. The goals for grades three and four are to not exceed 25 per classroom.

Also, the levy money will go toward fuel for buses and heating to help with increased fuel costs.

The levy money will also be used to bring back the family and consumer science (home economics) course giving more options for students to learn life skills such as cooking, sewing and child development. Also, giving students more foreign language opportunities to alleviate tight scheduling. Two years of foreign language are required by four-year colleges. Currently, there are only two levels of Spanish and students have difficulty getting into the class due to limited space, according to Heidi Raasch, counselor at the high school.

Other areas the levy money will go toward are greater math and science opportunities to fulfill state standards, continuing staff to help with discipline and attendance issues in the high school, and updating computers and software to keep up with technology.

If the levy is passed, DC will have the third lowest operating levy in the Wright County Conference.

The levy would have a property tax increase on the home site and one acre of land, not on the remaining farm land like a bond would.

School board candidates

There are three seats open on the Dassel Cokato School Board and four candidates for the Nov. 7 election.

Current board members Kevin Dahlman and Richard Tormanen are running for reelection.

Dahlman has been on the board for almost 20 years and is in support of the levy referendum.

Richard Tormanen has been on the school board for 10 years and is in support of the levy referendum.

Punk Lundeen, a Cokato businessman, is running for school board election. He wants to bring a new view to the district. Lundeen does not support the levy referendum.

Kevin Bjork of Dassel still has children in the district and he is in support of the levy and giving students the opportunity to excel and live up to their full potential, he said.

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