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District 518 referendum action continues

WORTHINGTON -- Action relating to an upcoming Feb. 13 bond referendum for a new approximately $68 million high school continued Tuesday at the District 518 Board of Education meeting.

WORTHINGTON - Action relating to an upcoming Feb. 13 bond referendum for a new approximately $68 million high school continued Tuesday at the District 518 Board of Education meeting.

 

By a 6-1 vote, the board gave the nod to approve a contract with Jeff Dehler Public Relations - a communications consultant  - for strategic referendum communication services up to an estimated $29,000 from Sept. 13 through Feb. 28.

 

Board treasurer Brad Shaffer, who was the lone “no” vote, said he felt the board did not have a chance to digest the current state of its communications, which was presented to the board as a preliminary report earlier in the meeting by Dehler.

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“To me it was putting the cart before the horse hiring a consultant,” Shaffer said following the meeting.

 

Board chair Lori Dudley’s opinion was that the board should not delay in hiring a consultant.

 

“Every day we wait it gets closer to the voting day, and that’s part of why we didn’t do the fall date,” Dudley said, mentioning the board’s expressed opinion from previous meetings that more time was needed to get things in place.

 

The board also approved forming a three-member referendum subcommittee to work closely with the communications consultant.

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Chairman Lori Dudley and member Steve Schnieder volunteered to serve on the subcommittee, with the intent of another board member coming forward to volunteer.  

 

In other school board business, the board approved consideration of the maximum tax levy as dictated by the state.

 

According to Superintendent John Landgaard, school districts across the state always approve the maximum because it will continue to become adjusted, as there are errors and multiple changes that will be made before the final tax levy is approved in December.

 

However, there are a couple of factors that will likely increase this year’s tax levy, he said, including a lease levy for the new Area Learning Center/Gymnastics facility and a debt service.

 

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“The (Minnesota Department of Education) left off part of our debt service a year ago and now they’re putting it back on, and giving more, so it’s like doubling what they left off last year,” Landgaard said following the meeting.

 

Last year’s levy was $4,849,257.28.

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