Jan. 15, 2007

Forum to be held for cuts

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

The Dassel-Cokato Parent Teacher Association (PTA) will be hosting a public forum for the community to share input regarding the district’s budget Monday, Jan. 29 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center.

The district must cut $300,000 for the next school year and the school board is seeking to involve all stakeholders and use the information gathered at the forum to help in the overall budget process, according to Kevin Dahlman, school board chair.

The PTA will be overseeing the forum, which the board agreed upon due to its ability to remain neutral and unbiased, Dahlman said.

The PTA sees this as a community effort and therefore, has created a subcommittee with a wide variety of community members, such as Russ Johnson, Irene Bender, and Amy Wilde, to oversee the forum.

“We wanted to include all elements of the community as possible,” said PTA Chair Mari Pokornowski.

The forum will begin with a background and history of the district and its funding.

“Funding has been a roller coaster ride,” Pokornowski said.

Also, specific information will be given about the DC School District regarding funding and the budget.

Then, the forum will be open to questions duri which the audience can use either note cards or an open microphone to address questions to the school board, administration, and staff.

Since the budget includes the entire district and community, the PTA has encouraged a variety of individuals to attend including booster clubs, activities, administration, school board, staff, business people, ministerium, and elected officials serving on a legislative committee that directly affects the school district.

“We want to make them aware of what inadequate school funding is doing to small towns and that it’s creating great stress in our communities,” Pokornowski said.

At the end of the forum, individuals will be given a questionnaire, gathering input.

Although the board will make the ultimate decision, this will allow the public to “have a voice” and “to know they’ve been heard,” Pokornowski said.

“We want people to walk away from the forum understanding the complexity of school finances,” she said.

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