August 20, 2007

Levy committee now forming

Goal: to build a community coalition and reinvest in DC schools

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Community members, administration, and school board members are forming a grass roots effort to build a community coalition and reinvest in the Dassel-Cokato School District.

With the school board recently voting to go to the public this fall asking for a levy referendum, forming a levy committee was suggested.

Similar to last year’s committee, efforts will be made to communicate the district’s needs and gain support for the vote.

For Mari Pokornowski, who is chairing the communications subcommittee, the goal is much more than that.

“It’s building a coalition within the community to reinvest in our schools,” she said. This not only means investing financially, but emotionally as well, Pokornowski said.

In addition, it is important to make citizens understand that “schools” equal the “community,” she said.

Impacts from the district’s continual cuts are starting to show, said Richard Tormanen, committee co-chair.

He explained subtle things the district is starting to see include increased staff turnover, lower test scores over the years, and more juniors and seniors opting to go post secondary.

Pokornowski also mentioned rising class sizes.

“We were the district that led the state in low class sizes. That no longer exists with current classroom enrollment,” she said.

Currently, there are approximately 30 levy committee members consisting of parents, senior citizens, former business owners, school board, and administration.

Four subcommittees have already been formed including scheduling, voter targeting, fundraising, and communications/marketing.

Anyone interested in supporting the effort with their time is asked to call Brian Rootes, Richard Tormanen, or Kevin Bjork, or e-mail chargerlevy@yahoo.com.

“We want to encourage community members to get involved and help us get the message out,” said Tormanen.

The next levy committee meeting is Tuesday, Aug. 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Daniel’s Restaurant in Cokato.

PTA to vote on levy

Thursday, Sept. 6, the Dassel-Cokato PTA will be voting whether or not to support the upcoming fall levy.

Before doing so, a panel of school board members and administration will be asked questions.

One major question to be asked is how the district is addressing concerns and issues that were brought up last year in the PTA questionnaire and at the PTA forum, according to Pokornowski, a member of the PTA.

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