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December 20, 2007
Coming in 2008: ?Vote Yes? campaign
GRAND MEADOW, Minnesota (STPNS) -- As was mentioned in a recent issue of Meadow Area News, a Vote Yes committee is forming in Grand Meadow to try to initiate another Operating Levy vote this spring.
On November 6, voters in the Grand Meadow School district defeated an Operating Levy that would have added an additional $586.99 per student to continue to run the school programs, as they now exist.
The increase would be paid for by increasing property taxes and was (within a few dollars) the same amount that was passed by Southland and LeRoy-Ostrander districts, as well as several others in the state.
Some of the school district citizens who have banded together to create the Vote Yes committee are Chrissy Schumann, Cindy Stier, Kim and Dean Gomer, and Al and Lori Stier, to name a few. These people, and others, first met in latter November to discuss what needed to be done.
When asked why they had decided to take the initiative to form a Vote Yes committee, Chrissy Schumann spoke for the group. "We were saddened that our community was one of the few that did not pass the referendum, Schumann said. "Our Group wants to try to alleviate some of the pressure off the school board and Mr. Brown. The bottom line is, we want everyone to be as informed as possible. She concluded. "We also want to see a yes vote from the community. We feel this is possible if everyone knows the facts."
She also said of the core group of people, "We welcome any person who is interested. Anyone may contact us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org."
Schumann said the group will have their first meeting after the first of the year; the time and date are still to be determined. They expect to meet "two to three times a month, perhaps more," she said.
Before another vote takes place, however, she said there are some steps that need to be followed:
1) As mandated by the Minnesota Department of Education, they must compile a written plan that explains how the School District got into a statutory operating debt; what the District is doing now to hold down expenditures; and what the District's plan is to get out and stay out of statutory operating debt.
"This plan is currently being worked on," Schumann said, adding, "Our goal is to have this plan submitted to the Minnesota Department of Education on or before January 1, 2008," she commented.
2) The Minnesota Department of Education will review the plan prior to giving their approval.
3) Once approval is received from MDE, "We need to request permission from the Education Commissioner, Alice Seagren, to conduct a special election."
4) Once permission is received to conduct the special election, the school board will need to establish an election date that will be 53 days after the permission was received.
5) The School Board needs to decide on the amount of the Operating levy and whether to have a one-part or multi-part question.
Schumann also mentioned the election "may take place on Saturday, March 15, or some future date, based on when we receive the approval stated above."
While necessary cuts in expenditures are being made now and there's a lot of "tightening of the belt" budget-wise, the Vote Yes group is focused on getting a plan and dispersing the necessary information to see that the programs at Grand Meadow Schools can continue, without the deep buts and staff layoffs that would otherwise be inevitable.
Anyone wanting more information may contact Chrissy Schumann at 754-5518 or Cindy Stier at 754-5230.
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