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Fri, Mar 15th, 2002
Posted in

March 18, 2002

Letter to the Editor,

The voters in R-P School District have been asked to consider passing a $18,455,000 building referendum. This proposal raises a whole new set of financial concerns for taxpayers. As has been pointed out in previous letters to the editor, our small district does not have the tax base to support this kind of expense.

Another major area of concern is declining enrollment. R-P is not alone when it comes to this trend. In fact, other small schools in the county are talking of ways to share costs with neighboring districts in order to deal with this problem. According to the Fact Sheet mailed out by R-P Schools in October 2001, the District lost about 100 students in the past 5 years and will probably lose another 100 in the next 5 years. State aid per student amounts to roughly $4,000 per year. 100 students at $4000/student/year in state aid lost amounts to $400,000/YEAR that must be cut from the budget or raised through taxes to compensate for fewer students. Declining enrollment is one of the reasons cited for the need to pass the operating levy last November. In June of 2001, the district was $253,000 in debt, and had made staff cuts to help the budget situation. (An interesting sideline to all of this: how could the district purchase expensive land, without public input, when it was operating with a large negative balance?)

Considering the sizable decline in enrollment and the level of Statutory Operating Debt, does this sound like a school district that should contemplate building a new $18.455 million dollar school? It does not. This sounds like a district that should economize in every way possible just to maintain its school. A logical choice would be to step back from the current attempt to pass the building levy. Let taxpayers see where they are really at before asking them to absorb this huge additional financial burden. We have yet to learn the full impact of the November levy; our tax statements for 2002 should arrive shortly. However, with the State of Minnesota's unanticipated two-plus billion dollar deficit, no one knows that will really happen to State Aid to schools or Equalization formulas for the 2003 tax year and beyond. In an effort to balance the State budget, Legislators and the Governor may need to take away some of these educational payments to schools. In that case, your property tax bill could increase significantly.

Nancy Boe
Peterson, MN

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Lucille Evelyn Trouten

Fri, Mar 15th, 2002
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Lucille Evelyn Trouten, 81, of Mahtomedi, Minn., formerly of Harmony, died February 10, 2002 at New Prospective in Mahtomedi.

Lucille Evelyn Johnson was born March 12, 1920, to Helmer R. & Ella Arneson Johnson in Fremont Township, Winneshiek ..... 
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Ardith H. Ristau

Fri, Mar 15th, 2002
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Ardith H. Ristau, 70, of Preston, died February 9, 2002 at Park Lane Estates in Preston.

Ardith Hellickson was born March 12, 1931, in rural Ostrander, and attended country school there. Her family later moved to Carimona Township in Fillmor ..... 
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LaVonne Petersdorf

Fri, Mar 15th, 2002
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LaVonne Petersdorf, 76, of Mabel, formerly of Rochester, died of cancer February 7, 2002 in the Green Lea Manor Nursing Home in Mabel.

LaVonne Blagsvedt was born Dec. 21, 1925, in Lenora, Minn. to Ole and Frieda (Selbach) Blagsvedt. She gradu ..... 
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A. Milo Omodth

Fri, Mar 15th, 2002
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A. Milo Omodth, age 91, of Spring Grove, and formerly of Mabel, MN, died Feb. 11, 2002 at Tweeten Health Services in Spring Grove.

He was born Sept. 13, 1910, in rural Blackhammer, MN to John and Julia (Tollefson) Omodt. He attended South Fo ..... 
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Frances M. Miller

Fri, Mar 15th, 2002
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Frances M. Miller, 96, of Harmony, a homemaker, died February 9, 2002 at Harmony Healthcare Center where she had resided since 1998.

Frances M. Sprague was born Dec. 17, 1905, in Todd County, Minn., and grew up in the Fergus Falls area. On ..... 
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Donald Earl Mercer

Fri, Mar 15th, 2002
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Donald Earl Mercer, 61, of Chatfield, retired owner of Wander Inn Bar and Grill, died February 10, 2002 in a car-bus accident on U.S. 14 east of Utica.

Born July 27, 1938, in Douglas, he graduated from Rochester High School in 1956 and live ..... 
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Bernice Westphal

Fri, Mar 15th, 2002
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Bernice Westphal, 87, a resident of Ostrander Nursing Home, died February 25, 2002 at Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester, where she had been a patient a short time.

Bernice Tienter was born Nov. 23, 1914, in Forestville Township, Fillmore Cou ..... 
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Flavia Harriet Rindels

Fri, Mar 15th, 2002
Posted in

Flavia Harriet Rindels, 84, of Greenleafton, died February 23, 2002 at the home of her daughter in Rochester.

Flavia Harriet Miller was born Oct. 11, 1917, in Forestville Township, Fillmore County. She attended Flying Cloud School in Carimon ..... 
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