By Jen Bakken
The Vote Yes Campaign Committee was formed to support the school referendum that will go to vote Tuesday, April 22.
The referendum supports District 879’s plan to address the over-crowding in all three of the school buildings.
The plan includes purchasing 13 acres of land adjacent to the existing campus, constructing a new elementary school for grades 4-6, and adding science and music rooms to the existing high school and middle school.
Two questions will be on the ballot in April.
Question 1 will ask for funds to purchase the 13 acres of land. Question 2 will ask for funds to build the new school building.
There is no need for an operating levy question because the district passed an operating levy at the last election in November.
The school board will not levy for those dollars until voters approve the building of the new school.
The Vote Yes committee members represent a variety of businesses, ages, and interests, and their goal is to inform the community members of the campaign and referendum proposal.
Their common interests include maintaining the strong educational system for which Delano is known and ensuring the schools are sized appropriately to handle continued growth.
District funds will not be used to support the Vote Yes committee as it is funded by contributions from community residents and businesses.
The committee is in need of volunteers; even an hour or two could be of great help.
Only 49 percent of parents with children in District 879 voted last November, and the committee hopes to educate the community on what the referendum is and why it is so important.
“We are trying to rally more volunteers, this is something I am pretty passionate about,” said Lisa Seguin, co-chair of the Vote Yes committee. “I want people to understand this is a big deal and this need isn’t going to go away.”
Seguin may be relatively new to Delano, having only lived here with her husband, Mark, less than two years, but this didn’t stop Lisa from getting involved.
Even as a full-time project manager for Target.com and the mother of two children, ages two and nine months, she finds time to devote to a topic she feels passionate about.
“We moved here because of the schools,” Seguin said. “Because my children aren’t in school yet, I’m contributing to the growth and I want to help. I would like my children to have the benefits of the schools we’ve heard so much about.”
Not wanting her children to end up in overcrowded classrooms, or possibly missing out on the opportunity to take part in sports or play an instrument, she decided to do her part, educate herself on the referendum, and help spread the word.
Amy Johnson is also co-chair of the committee and has lived in Delano for just over five years with her husband, Gino, and their two boys, Dylan and Logan.
As a busy mother and full-time demand-planning manager for Best Buy Corporation, she still finds time and energy to devote to the Vote Yes committee.
“I have a degree in English literature, and education is so important,” Johnson said. “Having to teach in crowded classrooms is hard on students and teachers. I feel the schools are the focal point of our community and the community needs to stay involved and support the schools.”
Other members who are very influential in the Vote Yes Campaign Committee are Sam Nelson, Harlan Lewis, Tony Biel, Amy Bigot, and Brad Pappas.
All members are parents or grandparents with children who range in age from infant to adult.
When Seguin learned that the school district wasn’t levying the money intended for the new school, until voters approved the new school building, she was impressed.
“It’s obvious to me that the district is truly looking out for taxpayers,” said Seguin. “I was pleased to learn how fiscally responsible our school district is, and if we can stay proactive, we won’t be cutting programs.”
To learn more about the Vote Yes committee, contact Seguin via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at (763) 972-7252 or Amy Johnson at (612) 720-0657. Visit online www.delanovoteyes.org.
The community is also encouraged to attend a campaign kick-off at Three Crows on River Street Friday, March 7 from 7 to 10 p.m.
The event will be at Three Crows on River Street in Delano Friday, March 7 from 7 to 10 p.m.
Donations will be accepted. Music will be provided by the Three Crows Jam Band, as well as desserts, chili, and beverages.
The event’s primary purpose is to get residents excited and informed about the referendum and why it is so important to Delano’s future.