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Frazee School District to host referendum input meeting May 24

The Frazee-Vergas School Board has determined the need for renewing the operating referendum that will expire in 2013.

At the Monday night regular board meeting, the board announced a public meeting set for Tuesday, May 24, at 7 p.m. in the High School Media Center to discuss a referendum.

"We know there is a need to extend the referendum," board member Rich Ziegler said, but before the board goes to voters, it wants input on what should be proposed.

The current referendum is good through June 30, 2013, at $1,000 per pupil. There are several options for extending that referendum.

Options include renewing the current referendum, renewing it with a decrease or an increase, or just letting it expire. There is also the option of whether to seek the renewal at the November 2011 election or November 2012 election.

After a two-hour meeting, including talk on what a board chairman's authority includes, School Board Chair Steve Jepson resigned from the position.

He said that it was too difficult for him to fulfill the time obligations of a chair, and was resigning from the chair position, not from the school board.

He said that he would be fine with vice chair Rich Ziegler being appointed to chair and he could take the vice chair spot, but that it was up to the board.

The suggestion is exactly what the board did, switching the two men in position.

A mish-mash of other discussion topics coming out of the Monday meeting include:

• Determining what to do about food service. With director Rita Slupe retiring, the board is opening up options of either hiring a replacement, opening up request for proposals from food service management companies or sharing services with the Detroit Lakes district.

It will make a determination at the June 13 meeting.

• Determining how best to fill the position of business manager after Donna Mineer and Diane Menz announced their retirement.

Stender said he approached the Detroit Lakes district about shared service, but the district denied that request.

So while the board can advertise for a new business manager, it can also look at hiring Lakes Country Service Cooperative to provide services. Stender said other districts including Perham and Hawley use Lakes Country.

"You don't graduate with a school board finance degree. You don't graduate with school finance experience," he said of hiring someone new because of the unique knowledge school business managers need to know.

• The district will be partnering with M State BES to provide students the opportunity to work in a retail setting. The M State BES will have a retail store in the new BES building on Main Street, and students will receive credits for working in the areas of marketing, finance, business management and sales. The college will take care of the project, but the school district will serve as the fiscal agent on it.

• The next three regular school board meetings -- June 13, July 11 and Aug. 8 -- will be at 7 a.m. in the media center due to summer hours.