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|Paynesville Press - January 1, 2003|
Top 12 Stories of 2002: Donations reduce cuts
In February 2002, with the school district facing the daunting prospect of making $500,000 in budget cuts (for the 2002-03 school year), local residents backed up talk about the importance of education by opening their checkbooks.|
The "Keep the Quality" Campaign sprung from a public hearing on the proposed school cuts, when several members of the community suggested that money could be raised to reduce the need for cuts. Nearly 700 people had voted for a tax increase to support the school district in November 2001, the thinking went; ask them to write a check. (That November levy failed 687-886.)
The "Keep the Quality" Campaign raised $70,000 for the school district to minimize budget cuts in a rapid fund-raising effort in February 2002.
In less than a month, the "Keep the Quality" Campaign raised nearly $70,000 for the school district from nearly 250 donors. That money was used to reinstate a math teacher, student council advisors, speech advisors, play productions, cheerleading, and danceline.
In April 2002, district voters approved a levy referendum for the school district by a vote of 1,142-873, which should provide the district with an extra $550,000 in revenue starting in 2003-04.
While school finances remain tight, and administration continues to warn that more budget cuts will be needed to continue to account for declining enrollment, the district's financial system appears to be heading in the right direction. In November 2002, the school's audit revealed the school had an operating margin of nearly $79,000 in 2001-02, the first time the district ran in the black in five years.
(Editor's Note: the Press has identified these 12 stories as the top news in the Paynesville area for 2002. For the top accomplishments in sports, see the 2002 sports review.)
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