School begins education effort for referendum

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 8, 2002

The Albert Lea school board had their first public meeting to inform area residents about the levy referendum they will see on the November ballot.

“We are hoping that people will come to these meetings,” said Ken Petersen, the chair of the board. “We want people to be educated and get the facts before they vote.”

The board will be having five more of the public forum meetings throughout October (14, 15, 21, 22 and 24) at several local schools as well as Brookside Education Center.

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The board’s meetings are informal, according to Petersen. Information is given out and attendees are encouraged to ask questions to board members and TEAM (Together Education Achieves More) members. These question-and-answer sessions are done in a one-on-one fashion at tables around the meeting space.

“We are trying to make people feel free to ask any questions they have about the referendum,” said Petersen. “Many people find it easier to speak when they are one-on-one rather than in a big group setting.”

TEAM has been handing out brochures and stepping up their campaigning. In their brochure is a list of possible school cuts, which they have compiled from speaking with the district.

According to the brochure, there would be increases in the number of students enrolled in all classes, including math, English, science and social studies. It also says that one elementary school would be closed, seven elementary and seven junior high and high school teachers would lose their jobs, funding for arts and athletics would be diminished and study halls would increase.

Also during Monday’s school board meeting:

The board passed a resolution to carry over $13,358 in unused money from the 2001-2002 budget into the 2003-2003 budget.

The money was part of almost $30,000 in unspent money for that ’01/’02 budget, according to Mark Stotts.

Stotts said that the left over money has been due to a fiscally well-managed athletic department.

One reason the extra money is needed, according to Stotts, is because an increase in the size of the football team has required two buses for their trips instead of one.

Superintendent Dave Prescott added that many other sports have needed more money for transportation this year as well.