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Bond issue seems probable for school

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Bond issue seems probable for school
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Blackduck School Superintendent Bob Doetsch was directed Monday to put together figures for school board members to consider at their September meeting. Discussion made it seem likely the board will opt for an April 2010 election.

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Choices would range between a general referendum, which would leave funds open for allocation as needed, or an election which would earmark monies for specific purposes. These would include funding completion of roof repairs, renovation or replacement of the heating system, and purchase of new buses.

All three needs were cited as essential by Doetsch, who said playground improvements might also be necessary. Roof repairs to a small section of the school have already been contracted for $110,000 with that work scheduled to be done by the opening of school.

The heating problem was explained as due to the expansion of the school over a number of years, with the result that during the past season, interior temperatures have ranged from more than 100º in one class area to just over 52º in another.

School bus needs will help the district catch up with deferred new buses over the past few years, board members heard.

Rough figures would indicate a bond issue earmarked for the first three items might total in excess of $1.5 million. The advantage of the bond referendum versus a general referendum is that it would be spread over a wider tax base, including summer homes and agricultural land currently not included. (The board member making that proposal, despite the presence of a dozen non-board members, requested he not be identified for the record as the one making that proposal).

In other action, the board approved hiring a kindergarten teacher with enrollment seen at 50 students; gave tentative approval for Andrew Erholtz to make use of a school classroom for Good News Club activities; approved late rides for activities on Wednesday and Thursday nights, and heard reports on high school and elementary activities.

Members then went into closed session to consider strategies in contract negotiations with the three union groups involved -- teachers, staff and drivers. No details of proposals from either side were disclosed.

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Pioneer staff reports
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