July 30, 2007

Max takes oath of office to become Delano School Board member

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

Kevin Max of Delano became the school district’s newest school board member at the July meeting.

Max was recently appointed to the board to fill a spot vacated by Sarah Hellmich, who resigned due to relocation of her family.

Max will serve on the board through Dec. 30.

Results reported from community survey

Members of the school board heard a presentation by Don Lifto from Springsted/The Center for Community Opinion about the telephone survey that was conducted with 300 district households. Surveys were conducted from June 21 through June 27.

People making the calls first asked residents a general question about whether they would support a bond referendum being placed on the ballot later this year that would increase property taxes to raise the funds needed to build new classrooms and facilities in order to provide adequate classroom space for a growing student population.

Responses to the general question indicated 52.3 percent would favor the referendum, 39.7 would oppose it, and 7.3 percent were undecided.

Statements were then read about class sizes, increased enrollment, improved campus security, land purchases for future expansion, and other school/facilities issues, in an effort to inform residents.

From there, questions were asked about tax impact.

“If voters approve a school bond and the district builds new classrooms and facilities, it must have additional funds to operate them. Therefore, the school district will also ask local voters to approve an increase in its operating levy. Such a proposal would increase local property taxes to provide the district with the funds needed to pay the cost of opening and operating new classrooms and facilities. It would cost the owner of a home with an assessed value of $275,000 $150 per year. Would you favor or oppose such a proposal?”

The margins were still similar, with 59 percent stating they’d be in favor of it, 37.3 percent stating they’d oppose it, and 3 percent undecided.

Conditions of existing facilities, the district’s financial management, and planning were also gone over with the participants.

Lifto said the overall recommendation was that a bond is feasible, but to be successful, the cost of a bond should not exceed $196 for a home with an assessed value of $275,000.

He said a levy to cover the operating costs of any new facilities is also feasible if the cost is kept at or below $150 for a home with an assessed value of $275,000.

“Voters are much more likely to support a bond to build a new school, renovate science labs, and improve security than they are to support a bond to improve athletic facilities or build a performing arts center,” he said, adding that voters have a positive perception of the district, giving it better grades overall than those collected as part of a national survey.

An informational meeting will take place regarding the results of the survey Wednesday, Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Delano Middle School Auditorium.

The board also set a workshop for Monday, July 30 (tonight) at 5:30 p.m. in the district office conference room to prepare for the informational meeting.

School board to broadcast its meetings on television

The school board approved moving its monthly meetings to the Delano City Hall, and to make reasonable efforts to televise the meetings on local cable channel 12 whenever possible.

The dates of the meetings will also change, beginning Monday, Sept. 24, to the fourth Monday of the month.

Delano resident Harlan Lewis had made a request to the board to look into the possibility of televising its meetings.

Superintendent Dr. John Sweet and Board Chairperson Becky Schaust met with city representatives, and determined it would work to host the board meetings at city hall. The district would still need to provide laptops for board members, as it does now.

It was noted this effort will continue to help the district’s mission in communicating to its residents in as many ways as possible.

Odds and ends

In other business, the board:

• approved a maternity leave of absence for activities administrative assistant Teresa Spurzem.

• heard from High School Principal Matt Schoen that his transition period continues, as he is getting to know more staff. Middle School Principal Rene Klinker said she is also “meeting and greeting” staff members, and preparing for the upcoming school year.

• heard that the custodial staff is ahead of schedule for the summer cleaning.

• heard there will be a savings this year of $7,000 on worker’s compensation benefits, and a savings of $19,000 on property/liability insurance premiums.

• approved the high school student handbook, with language changes explained by Schoen.

• appointed Sweet to the Sherburne-Wright Educational Technology Cooperative.

• approved the Meyer Brothers Dairy bid for milk, and Sarah Lee Baking Company’s bid for bread for the upcoming school year.

Informational meeting to take place regarding survey results

Delano Schools will be hosting an informational meeting regarding the results of the community survey Wednesday, Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Delano Middle School Auditorium.

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