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HLWW to seek operating levy through mail-in ballot

January 28, 2008

By Jennifer Gallus
Staff Writer

A pared down, “bare bones” operating levy question will be mailed to residents in the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District Tuesday, April 8.

Even if it passes, the school will be operating without revenues for 18 months, since the taxes will be collected the following year, according to discussion at the school board meeting Tuesday.

The district will be asking for $330/pupil unit for 10 years. This type of election can only be done once per year.

“This amount is still bare bones,” said School Board Member Al Doering. “It’s still going to be tight for the district to operate – which is the intention, and we’ll be able to offer the core programs we offer today. It won’t allow us to bring programs back.”

“If we would grow, that additional student revenue would help a lot,” HLWW District Supt. George Ladd said.

“We can’t continue (if the levy fails), we get no help from the state. They’re not going to help us. They tell us we have to support the district by public dollars,” Ladd explained.

Because the November levy failed, the district has been faced with making $450,000 in cuts. The board looked at a list of $193,229 in cuts for this year and the next, and tentatively approved those cuts.

The administration has another list of cuts that weren’t shared at the meeting that includes programs and staff cuts. The board wanted to notify those staff of the potential cuts before they are shared publicly.

“We don’t have the luxury of other school districts that haven’t gone through cost cutting and budget constraints,” Doering explained. “There’s not a big line item to cut. There’s not a lot of fat in this school district. We have to nickel and dime.”

Board seat vacancy filled

The school board appointed Michelle Heuer to the seat that was recently vacated by Tom Hammer.

Heuer took the Oath of Office and then took her seat alongside School Board Member Paul Weibel.

Odds and ends

In other matters, the board:

• appointed Dan Schaible as board chair, Lori Custer as vice chair, Charles Weber as clerk, and Jamie Wiech as treasurer.

• kept the same per diem for meetings as last year at $40 per meeting.

• heard a presentation from Elizabeth Benson, the middle school counselor.

• authorized a call for bids for lawn mowing.

• were informed that high school students will be emptying their lockers Tuesday, Feb. 12 and relocating their belongings to their new lockers at the new high school. The first day of class at the new high school will be Tuesday, Feb. 19.

• approved the resignation of Steve Strandquist as custodian at the new high school.

• approved the hire of Glen Ross as evening custodian at the Howard Lake site.