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Letters - Frazee-Vergas School making positive changes; vote 'Yes' on referendum

In just a few days, the citizens of the Frazee-Vergas School District will be going to the polls to cast their vote on a couple of issues that may have a long lasting affect on the school district. 

The first issue deals with school board members. As it stands now, if a board member wants to bring an item up for discussion, the member is more than likely to be told to let it be handled in committee rather than bring it up at a public board meeting. The comment usually made is, don't rock the boat or don't make any waves. This way the people are kept in the dark about what is going on with school business.

Case in point: The financial condition of the school district. Many people were discouraged when the contract of Supt. Stender was bought out for $377,000. Many things have happened since the buy-out that have actually saved the district money. However, for some reason the board, as a whole, doesn't bring this out and show the public that the buy-out of Stender's contract was actually a good deal. There are numerous areas where Supt. Cheney has saved the district money cancelling contracts, hiring local personal, paying off debt early and securing a better interest rate, reducing attorney fees, and having the accounting office keep a keen eye on expenditures. None of this comes to light as the Board wants this all hidden in the so called "Consent Agenda." 

The next issue that each of you will have to consider as to how you are going to vote is the referendum. As I am sure you all know, I have been a strong advocate against the referendum for quite a few years. I have worked long and hard to keep it from passing whenever it came up for a vote. Now this year I am having to look at the referendum in a different light. I believe that the administration has worked long and hard to bring school financing into line with the revenues that the district can expect to obtain, the need of the school to provide a good education to our children, to pay adequate compensation to our employees, and over all, make the Frazee-Vergas School District a shining "Beacon" in the surrounding school area. So by this statement, I declare that I will vote "Yes" on the referendum issue. -- Oscar Birkeland, Frazee