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Residents to weigh in on Moorhead School District finances

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Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

MOORHEAD - The cash-strapped Moorhead School District is looking to enlist finance-savvy community members eager to weigh in on upcoming money decisions.

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The district is launching a new Citizen Finance Advisory Committee, which will include top district administrators, staff members, parents and other community members. They will get together at least four times a year to study and brainstorm solutions to Moorhead's financial problems.

"This is a very nice move to make the financial decision-making of the district more transparent to the community and to stakeholders," School Board member Bill Tomhave said about the committee.

After the board approves a policy outlining the workings of the new committee at its March 23 meeting, the district will post an application on its Web site. District leaders are looking for Moorhead residents with at least some background in financial matters and budgeting.

The district is facing some tough financial decisions this spring. Officials are looking to trim almost $5 million to balance its budget for the next school year. And they will have to decide whether to ask taxpayers for help at a November referendum.

Superintendent Lynne Kovash said she hopes the committee will meet for the first time in April, which won't be soon enough to offer input on the upcoming budget cuts. The board is slated to approve those later this month.

But Kovash said committee members might put forth ideas for further cost-cutting measures the district could still implement this year.

About four or five community members will join an existing district finance committee that Kovash launched in September to get input from a wider range of staff members. The school board chair, district superintendent and assistant superintendent and representatives of district teachers and support staff serve on that committee.

"It gives us more eyes and ears to the decisions we make," Kovash said.

Committee meetings will be open to the public and will continue after the district weathers the current budget crisis.

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