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R-P gears up for referendum

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Nov 23rd, 2012
Posted in Rushford Government

R-P is moving forward with preparations and its Yes Campaign for a new, $15 million pre-K through grade 5 facility. Recently, brochures highlighting the upcoming referendum in the district were mailed out to district residents. There was some concern locally that there was a lack of information on the tax impact for businesses, but district staff is working diligently to get as much needed information out as possible prior to the December 19 vote. Property owners within the community can contact the district office directly to find their tax impact.

There are two upcoming informational meetings for the bond referendum. The first is Monday, November 26, from 4:30-6:30pm, at the middle school cafeteria in Peterson. The second is Monday, December 10, from 6-8pm, at the elementary cafeteria in Rushford. The public is encouraged to attend and bring forth any questions or comments that they may have.

“We need to be proactive and involved in this; bring a lot of energy to the table,” stressed board member Greg Smith.

“That’s a good point,” responded Ehler. “We need to collectively say, ‘What can we do as a united front.’”

Another key issue in the event is having the availability of absentee voting. “We need to make a significant effort to have it in place for individuals who cannot be here,” added Ehler. Those wanting an absentee ballot for the referendum will need to request an application from the district office. Two packets are ready for mailing, depending on whether or not the voter requesting the ballot is registered or not. The ballots must be back at the district office up to the day prior to the election to be counted as a valid vote. Ballots will be opened and verified, but not counted prior to the vote. Further press releases from the district on the referendum and voting will be coming.

In other news, the district conducted a recount in the election of the fourth open board seat. First-time board member Taylor Peterson originally won the seat, but the margin of votes between Peterson and Len Strapp was less than 10 and Strapp requested the recount. The recount took place this past Tuesday, in Preston at the Commissioner’s Room of the courthouse. In a narrow result, with the recount yielding four more votes for both candidates, the seat was retained by Peterson, 918 to 910 votes.

The district has adopted a Bus Accident Communication Protocol in the wake of a rear-end collision this past October. The straight-forward protocol calls for the bus driver to report the accident and location, with the Director of Transportation notifying 911, the district, and Ready Bus Service headquarters. From there, the district will first contact the parents of any children needing transportation for medical attention. Next, the district will contact the parents of students on the bus affected, beginning with the parents of students not yet dropped off, by order of the bus route. Teachers will also be contacted, if warranted, and lastly a press release will be issued to local media.

Superintendent Ehler stressed that safety and communication are the priority of the protocol. In such event as a future accident, the district and board believe its critical for parents not to rush to the scene, but rather allow the professionals to do their job safely, as well as to safeguard the students. It is already the policy of Ready Bus Service to not release any student at the scene of an accident, even to a parent or guardian.

The next regularly scheduled school board meeting is Monday, December 17, at 5pm, in the high school biology room. Please note the time change. The public is encouraged to attend.

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