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Rushford-Peterson responds to concerns; renews superintendent contract


By Kirsten Zoellner

Mon, Dec 29th, 2014
Posted in Rushford Village Education



Due to time constraints at the December 17 school board meeting, a special meeting was called December 22. The meeting was well attended by the public, as was the previous meeting, with more than 20 citizens waiting to hear the district’s response to recent concerns and the outcome of the superintendent’s contract.

A two-page memorandum from Tom Melcher, school finance director for the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), was presented in regards to the district eligibility for Natural Disaster Debt Service Equalization. Many in the district have argued concern over state aid. While not guaranteed, Greg Crowe, of Ehlers & Associates, the financial firm assisting the district with the referendum and new school initiative, has stated on multiple occasions that there is no reason to expect funding to be pulled by the state.

Per state statute, three conditions must be met in order to for the district to qualify for state aid for the New School Initiative, a $38.1 million pre-K through grade 12 facility. First, “The district was impacted by a natural disaster event or area occurring January 1, 2005, or later, as declared by the President, which is eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency payments (FEMA).” The community was impacted by a 500-year flood in 2007 and the Rushford facility, while not under water, did sustain damages.

Secondly, “The natural disaster caused $500,000 or more in damages to school district buildings.” This aspect of the eligibility requirements has been subject to much speculation and varying interpretation, according to James Noble, representative from the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor. Noble stated that the district will qualify for state aid, despite some of the $734,695.66 in FEMA grants and disaster aid being utilized for equipment, grounds, and hazard mitigation and not directly to the facilities themselves.

Melcher also echoed this assurance, noting that MDE had used restorative costs of school facilities to pre-disaster function and capacity as defined by FEMA. According to Melcher, this included “Essential components and steps other than just the cost of construction contracts for repairs to the main building.” These components include cleanup, planning, project management, and replacement of equipment and restoration of grounds.

The last piece of eligibility states, “The repair and replacement costs a .....
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Journal Writing Project: Not just a ‘New’ Year

By Jeremiah Munson


Most people are aware of and participate in the tradition of a “New Year’s Resolution.” Whether you want to exercise more, spend more time with your family, or be a little more adventurous, New Year’s resolutions can cover just about every ..... 
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Rushford-Peterson faces tough questions on new school issues

By Kirsten Zoellner

Mon, Dec 22nd, 2014
Posted in Rushford Village Education

Talk moves swiftly in tight-knit communities and recent rumblings over potential problems with Rushford-Peterson’s New School Initiative, and the subsequent referendum, led more than 55 citizens to pack into the high school biology room for the ..... 
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Rushford Village eyes changes to Conditional Use Permitting

By Kirsten Zoellner

Mon, Dec 22nd, 2014
Posted in Rushford Village Government

The Planning/Zoning Commission of Rushford Village is diligently working to write proposed amendments to Zoning Ordinance 5, sections 1800-2700, seeking to clarify wording and eliminate potential problems. The matter was discussed at length at the D ..... 
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Parade of Lights to benefit SEMCAC Food Shelf in Rushford

Mon, Dec 8th, 2014
Posted in Rushford Village Arts & Culture

RUSHFORD, MN – Merchants Bank is once again helping to organize the Rushford Parade of Lights at 7 p.m., Saturday, December 13 in downtown Rushford. Cookies, cocoa and cider will be served at the Rushford Fire Hall during and after the parade. ..... 
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Rushford Village hires Public Works supervisor

By Kirsten Zoellner

Mon, Dec 8th, 2014
Posted in Rushford Village Government

The Tuesday, December 2 council meeting was notably missing mayor Gordon Johnson and councilor Todd Baker, who has been absent the last four meetings. Mayor pro-tem Dennis Overland led the brisk 35-minute meeting. Following a round of personal int ..... 
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Students can win with Merchants Bank Money Ball in Rushford

Mon, Dec 1st, 2014
Posted in Rushford Village Education

RUSHFORD, Minn. – Area students will have a chance to win some money with Money Ball from Merchants Bank. The first chance comes during halftime of the Rushford boys basketball game against Lanesboro, Friday, December 5. Three participants, 5th ..... 
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Rushford discusses discretionary spending, attorney contract

By Kirsten Zoellner

Mon, Dec 1st, 2014
Posted in Rushford Village Government

The Monday, November 24 council meeting had the lowest attendance in years, likely due to the first snow storm of the season. Several agenda items were tabled due to the weather and will be rescheduled so engineers can be present. The most in-d ..... 
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Rushford-Peterson approves Design Team format

By Kirsten Zoellner

Mon, Dec 1st, 2014
Posted in Rushford Village Education

With a successful $38.1 million referendum, for a new facility, under their belt, the R-P School Board voted November 17 to move the initiative forward to the next stages. Nearly 30 packed into the high school biology room for the meeting, includi ..... 
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