Decision on Frazee-Vergas school levy from board has to wait
Frazee-Vergas School Board members delayed a decision Monday on seeking voter approval for an operating levy for the school. Community members packed the meeting and asked for a tax increase by presenting a petition with 850 signatures seeking an...
Frazee-Vergas School Board members delayed a decision Monday on seeking voter approval for an operating levy for the school.
Community members packed the meeting and asked for a tax increase by presenting a petition with 850 signatures seeking another vote, Superintendent Deron Stender said.
Voters in the district, which is southeast of Detroit Lakes, have already defeated four referendums.
Declining enrollment, rising costs and insufficient state and federal funding are forcing the district to make $700,000 in cuts.
Among the cuts are the cross country, golf and gymnastics programs, along with three full-time teaching positions.
The number initially was $1.1 million, but the School Board decided Monday to use $300,000 of its reserve and $100,000 of the staff development fund.
The board forwarded residents' request for an operating levy referendum to a committee of School Board members and administrators.
The community group, called PACE - parents and community for education - has been going door to door talking about the issues and answering questions, trying to help people make informed decisions.
"It's encouraging, and I'm optimistic that if the board does decide to go for a referendum, we've got some good leadership out there," Stender said. "It can't be done by the superintendent. It can't be done by the board. We need to focus on the 'we,' what can 'we' do as a community."
School leaders worry that as more cuts are made, more students will open-enroll in neighboring schools. In a state where funding is based on enrollment, that would mean even more financial problems for the district.
Frazee-Vergas is one of the few districts in the state without an operating referendum.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526