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Ellsworth, Windom approve operating levies

Voters decisively approved a new operating levy referendum in the Ellsworth school district Tuesday night and renewed the existing one in Windom Area Schools

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By a margin of 214-62, Ellsworth voters approved a levy of $1,845 per-pupil unit, a figure that represents a $705 per-pupil-unit increase. The previous levy referendum of $1,139 per pupil unit had been approved by voters in 2010.

“I think the board, maybe, was cautiously optimistic,” said John Widvey, financial consultant with the Ellsworth district, said, “but I think people were probably more active in getting information.”

Widvey told the Daily Globe last month that the district had seen a $300,000 decline in reserves for the previous eight years. The new referendum, which will be in effect for 10 years, will keep the district from tapping further into reserves and help avoid cuts in district offerings, he added.

In Windom, voters approved a seven-year renewal of the existing levy referendum of $1,337,41 per pupil unit by a count of 678-150. The figure was originally approved for the 2007-2008 year.

“I think the school board put out a very straight-forward message on what we would be using the funds for,” Windom Area Superintendent Wayne Wormstadt said. “We’re not doing anything new; we’re just maintaining current funding levels.”

Since the referendum initially went into effect, Windom Area has added 10 teachers to the district, increased preschool classes from 16 weeks to 32 weeks, established four new K-5 classes to reduce class size and added four college courses available for high school students.

Communities across northwest Iowa also conducted municipal elections Tuesday. Results are as follows:

Dickinson County

(only partial results available)

Arnolds Park: Mayor — Michael Mitchell 178, Len Rettinger III 21

Council (two at-large positions) — Matt Richter and Mitch Watter defeat Mike Koppert and Rick Reed.

Lake Park: Mayor — John Engel (unopposed)

Council (three at-large positions) — Julie Baumgarn, Lance Heikens, Clark Reekers.

Milford: Mayor — Don Lamb (unopposed).

Council (three at-large positions) — Mary Kay Rolling, Jason Simpson and John Walters defeat Christopher Hinshaw, and William Huse.

Okoboji: Mayor — Mary Vander Woude 281, Leo Parks 207.

Council (three at-large positions) — Julie Mau Andres, Walter Mendenhall and Jerry Robinson defeat Steve Dulin, Barry Sackett and Robert Sandahl

Spirit Lake: Mayor — Blain Andera (unopposed)

Council (two at-large positions) — John Chappas, Clyde Ihrke

West Okoboji: Mayor — Larry Traughber (unopposed)

Council (two at-large positions) — Mike Paxton, Robert Hein

Lyon County

George: Mayor — Gary Siebring 61.

Council (two at-large positions) — Russ Hopp 62, Gerald Grave Jr. 60.

Little Rock: Mayor — Jeff Kruse 60.

Council (two at-large positions) — Bill Henrichs 60, Nathan Peters 57.

Rock Rapids: Mayor — Jason Chase 411.

Council (two at-large positions) — Eric Borman 355, Cody Hoefert 256, Matt Schar (write-in) 181.

O’Brien County

Hartley: Mayor — Clayton Pyle 298, Janie Baird 82.

Council (three at-large positions) —Ron Hengeveld 277, Mary Westphalen 273, Brad Meendering 242, Jerry Olson 227, Jason Kelley 83, Joshua Leth 57.

Sanborn: Mayor — Duane Van Veldhuizen 250, Michael Benner 152, Thomas Ginger 45.

Council (two at-large positions) — Randy Lyman 331, Jerry Back 311, Jerry Nichel 120.

Sheldon: Mayor — Katricia Meendering 519, Dan Van Gorp 373, Joel Bousema 149.

Ward 2 Council (vote for 1) — Randy Fonkert 173, Duane Seehusen 108.

At large Council (vote for 1) — Zach Sawyer 729, Duane Popkes 302.

Osceola County

Ashton: Mayor — Patrick DeVries 39.

Council (three at-large positions) — Daniel Grote 44, Kevin Ommen 43, William Honkomp 40 Kay Winkel 33.

Harris: Mayor — Gregory Spaethe 16.

Council (two at-large positions) — Russell Meier 17, Phil Hibma (write-in) 6, Lori Spaethe (write-in) 3.

Melvin: Mayor — Lee Dau 28.

Council (three at-large positions) — Michael Wynja 32, Mike Alesch 29, Galen Bootsma 25.

Ocheyedan: Mayor — Arlyn Pedley 80.

Council (two at-large positions) — Scott Wiersma 78, Joe McElroy 64, Clyde Hoekstra 45.

Sibley: Mayor — Jerry Johnson 14.

Ward 1 Council — Mike Groote 15.

Ward 3 Council — Gail Buchholtz 33.

At large Council — Larry Pedley 67.