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Tri-County News
Kimball, Minnesota
October 21, 2010     Tri-County News
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October 21, 2010

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Thursday, October 21, 2010 Tri-County News Kimball, MN i "&apos;ii ............... 'iiT-iiiiiiill ..... iiii. 5111ii'ii_"" Letters to the Editor. Keeping them honest "Keeping them honest" is espe- cially important as we approach the final days in this election cycle. I would like to correct inaccurate statements in a recent letter to the editor in the St. Cloud Times related to Steams County's 2010 budget cuts. The writer claims that the County "only" reduced its budget by $18,7 million, not $20.5 million as stated by Commissioner Vince Schaefer. Schaefer's numbers are correct! The letter writer failed to account for the additional $1.8 mil- lion in cuts after the original bud- get had been adopted in December 2009. Those cuts made the County's total budget reduction for the 2010 year to be 14.9 percent, or the $20.5 million that Commissioner Schae- fer referenced. The writer goes on to talk about the County's 2008-2009 budget increase. According to the Coun- ty's five-year road program, nearly all of the budget increase identi- fied in the letter was due to antic- ipated state and federal road proj- ect dollars coming to Stearns County, which had little effect on the tax levy. Would the writer have preferred that Stearns County not accept those much-needed federal and state dollars? Opinion Page 5 In regard to taxes, County Auditor-Treasurer records show that Stearns' property tax rate has actually decreased nearly 5 per- cent during Commissioner Schae- fer's tenure on the Stearns County Board. The State Auditor's website shows that Stearns County is the second-lowest spending/per cap- ita county in Minnesota. It's these real budget numbers and decisions that impact peo- ples lives that make Vince Schae- fer the best choice on Nov. 2. A vote for Vince Schaefer is a vote to continue using a common-sense approach to fiscal responsibil- ity. Please do the math and keep Vince's opponents honest! Mark Sakry, District 2 Stearns County Commissioner We need to give back for others to benefit "It takes a village to raise a my children's education, tity. Staff and students have taken My father, David Hendricks, who was a very strong believer in Kimball and our schools, always taught me that somebody paid for my education, so I had the respon- sibility to pay for somebody else's. I have always lived by my father's words and know with educating my six children, that Dan and I have a responsibility to pay back to our schools. We must give other students the same opportunities that our children experienced. As mayor of this fine commu- nity, I see the value of our schools to our community and businesses. Kimball schools are one of the big- gest employers, and brings people to our community whether they stop at the grocery store, gas sta- tion, bank, or any other business in our community. Our students and school are an important part of Kimball's iden- ownership of our community by volunteering in numerous city activities, such as park cleanup, "Arts in the Park" and "National Night Out." I am not telling anyone how to vote, but rather encouraging you to really educate yourself before you go to the polling place. If you have any questions, call the super- intendent John Tritabaugh, or school board chair Kurt Helgeson. They will be more than happy to answer all your questions. Make a wise decision. My goal is to have Kimball grad- uates care enough about Kimball, that they want to stay here and raise their families. Good schools are an important part of that deci- sion. Tammy Konz, Mayor, city of Kimball child," is a famous African prov- erb that comes to mind every time I think of raising our six children. Our village consisted of our com- munity members, our faith com- munity and, of course, the Kim- ball school community. My family is in the fifth genera- tion to attend Kimball schools and both my husband and myself are graduates. I was thankful for the great teachers my children had, and was especially pleased when my two favorite teachers, Mr. Bill Liedman and Mr. Carl Hoffman, were also my children's teachers. Mr. Liedman teaches still today, continuing to make a difference in students' lives. Everyone from the cooks to the janitors, paraprofes- sionals to administration, secre- taries, coaches, and of course, bus drivers, were all an integral part of What do $700 and $175 mean to Kimball Area Schools? $145,000 for needs in the district. These include updating curricu- lum, restore and continue educa- tion programs, and some needed equipment and repairs to build- ings and activities. We see the $700 as needed for basic educational needs to avoid cuts over the next six years. This question is critical for providing the basics and some of the items that have been cut or delayed due to budget cuts the last several years. Why the $175 per pupil unit ($150,000 additional funds)? During our discussions and in meetings with various commu- nity members, it became clear that the people wanted more than just the bare minimum for students of Kimball Area Schools. While the $700 will provide some funds to do more than just balance the budget for the first few years of the levy, as costs rise, there will be little left the last fewyears other than a balanced budget for standard programs. The additional funds from question 2 will be for improved technology, replacement of roofs, and refurbish- ment and improvements to activi- ties facilities and equipment. The second question is about making sure we maintain the schools and have the funds to meet the ever-increasing needs of education. In short, we need the $875, but could not risk going into the next year without any levy in place. Things to remember All of these budget projections are based on the current state- funding formula. The state has already delayed our payments once. If there are additional delays or cuts to our funding, significant changes may need to be made to our plan. As members of the school board, we also pay taxes. We do not enjoy having to raise taxes and go through the work of a levy. This takes time, energy, and the help of many peo- ple. But the state is clear, they have no more money. If districts need money, they need to go to the local tax payers. Nearly every district in the state has an operating levy or is asking for one this year. If both questions were approved by the community, we would still be below the state average. We will be almost 50 percent behind the top-funded districts. We believe our students deserve the high quality education that these funds would allow us to provide. We know that times are tough economically. We have cut almost 20 percent of our budget over the last 6 years. We simply can't provide the needed education and meet the underfunded mandates of the state and federal governments. We face mandates that are underfunded by over $400,000, more than we are asking for in question 1. We welcome comments and questions. Feel free to contact School Board Chair - Kurt Helge- son at <>, or (320) 398-2662. Contact informa- tion for the rest of the board is avail- able on the district website: <www.>, under the school board link. Board of Education Kimball Area Schools Robin Dockery Jody Gagnon Kurt Helgeson Tom Schreiner Doug Stenger Tim Zipoy As you know, the school is going for a new operating levy Nov. 2. As a School Board, we thought it was important for us to address a cou- ple of questions we have heard while out in the community. Why are there 2 questions on the ballot? The board discussed this issue for several meetings. We also dis- cussed the options with commu- nity members that attended meet- ings about the levy and in the com- munity. In the end, we decided that two questions would address the needs of the district. Question 1 is about meeting the basic financial need of the district and matches the surrounding schools. Question 2 is 'about moving the district forward to provide more than just a basic education. It is important to under- stand that both of these questions are about meeting needs of the dis- trict and providing a quality edu- cation for the students. This is not about a bunch of "extras" or raises for teachers and staff. We discussed one question and three questions. In the end, we decided that 2 ques- tions gave us the best chance to be financially stable and give the com- munity the opportunity to deter- mine the level of support they have for the school. How did the board decide on $700 per pupil unit ($365,000 additional funds)? The district currently has a levy for $275 per pupil unit. So the first question is for an additional $425 for a total of $700. The decision to ask for voter approval of $700 was based on the amount needed to maintain a balanced budget over the six years of the levy. The first few years of the levy, we will have a balanced budget and about Open house birthday party combined open house bihday :party is planned for Mary Held s 50th and Dan Strohrneier s 60th birtldays. The party will be at the Kimball LegionAElub from 6 p.m.-mid- night Saturday, Oct. 23. z knn00versa 7 Engagement Schreiner 50 th McCaughan- Nelson Harold and Ardis Schreiner will celebrate their 50th anniver- sary with an open house reception from 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24, at the WatkinsVillageHall.Abuffetwillbe served throughout the afternoon. Harold and Ardis (Webb) Schreiner were married Nov. 8, 1960, at St. Anne's Catholic Church in Kimball. The reception is hosted by their children Glen and Pat Schreiner, Kevin and Sandy Schreiner, Patty Thul, Mark and Nancy Schreiner, Bruce Schreiner and Tina Gaida, Kathy, and Mike Kunkel and Roxanne and Mark Gutknecht. Bethany McCaughan of Osa- kis and Luke Nelson of Lakeville, would like to announce that they will be joining in marriage. They met while they attended Hamline University in St. Paul. Bethany is currently a chaplain at the VA Hospital in St. Cloud. Luke is the pastor of Kimball United Methodist Church and Zion United Methodist Church ot South Haven. They will be celebrating with friends and family May 20, 2011, at Hamline United Methodist Church. It is time for change in the Stearns County govern- ment in my opinion. Vince Schaefer has repeatedly claimed that in 2010 he helped reduced the county bud- get by $20.5 million but it was only reduced by $18.75 million. Of more interest though is the fact that the year before (2009) the budget was increased by almost $28 million. The 2009 budget was $137,182,396 and the 2008 budget was 109,196,530. The increase from 2008 to 2009 was a staggering 25.63%. The two-year increase ofthe 2010 budget over the 2008 budget is about $9 2 mdl in the middle of a recession L " ion --. uese are statistics that are easily attained from the administrative department at Stearns County. It is amazing that the approximate 14% budget reduction is what we hear about in this election year but almost nothing is said about the 26% increase of the previous year. Next year s budget proposal currently includes more than a million-dollar increase. Stearns County Commissioners, I cannot afford more taxes. I truly believe we need less government and less government spending, and for that reason I will be voting for leffMergen for Stearns County District 3 County Commissioner. 320_685 _83CldeSpring, MN.563 0