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New operating levy referendum passes in Ellsworth; Windom district voters renew their levy

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New operating levy referendum passes in Ellsworth; Windom district voters renew their levy
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

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.

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