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Operating levy increase for Delano Public Schools fails
Nov. 14, 2011
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By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

DELANO, INDEPENDENCE, MN – Unofficial results in the Delano Public School District’s special election shows that the operating levy increase measure failed by 159 votes.

A total of 1,450 “no” votes were cast, and 1,291 “yes” votes were cast. Voters were asked to vote on increasing the operating levy from $426 per pupil to $990 per pupil.

Poll location breakdowns are as follows:

Delano – 1,139 yes, 1,120 no;

Independence – 152 yes, 330 no.

These results are unofficial until canvassed by the Delano School Board.

After the numbers were known, Delano Public Schools Superintendent Dr. John Sweet expressed disappointment in the results, and said, now, the Delano School Board will begin the difficult task of reviewing the approximately $800,000 in recommended cuts.

Any cuts made would be effective the 2012-13 school year, and Sweet noted these have not yet been approved by the board, but have been used for discussion and are likely the direction the board will look toward.

“There’s some work to do with that – for instance, the $35,000 out of the activities fund; we haven’t defined that closely, so the activities council will get involved in that one,” Sweet said.

Another thing the board is going to investigate is attrition of staff, and he said there could be some savings realized in this area.

Additional cuts that were recommended include things like bussing only beyond the two-mile legally required limit for grades five through 12, which would lead to a reduction of one or two routes and save the district approximately $37,448 per route.

“The specifics of this and some of the other proposals haven’t been quite developed yet,” Sweet said in June when the school board approved seeking the levy increase.

The elimination of bussing for Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School in Loretto, which closed, will result in a savings of $17,000.

Reforming the school board, itself, to the legally required minimum of six members could also save the district about $1,200, but would require an election to implement, and also would increase committee load and board representation on various committees.

Reforming the staff development budget and new teacher mentor program, restructuring the webmaster positions, and also reductions in the supply budgets for the schools and activities would also be studied.

Sweet said in June the proposed adjustments would add up to $607,705, and said four full-time teaching positions could be cut to reach the target $800,000 mark. Projections at this point would be one teacher in the elementary level, and three in grades five through 12, to be determined.

Sweet said Tuesday night the school board cannot go to the voters again until November 2012.

Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose voters approve levy renewal, elect board members

Voters have approved an operating levy renewal for the Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose School District, with 2,475 votes cast in favor of renewing the levy, and 816 cast against the levy renewal.

The operating levy renewal is a renewal of an existing levy. The levy went into effect in 2003, and is set to expire after taxes payable in 2010 (10 years).

The district asked voters to renew the levy, in the amount of $379.44 per student, for another 10 years. This will not increase residents’ property taxes (no new taxes), and in many cases, will slightly decrease their taxes, according to the district.

Renewing the levy will prevent $2.6 million in budget reductions for the 2013-14 school year.

Voters also elected four members to the BHM School Board, with incumbent Melissa Brings (1,871 votes), incumbent Sue Lee (1,818 votes), incumbent Patti Pokorney (1,765 votes) and Laurie Raymond (1,684 votes) elected. Dean Perry received 1,385 votes, and John Fitzgerald received 1,097.

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