Excess levy helped the school add programs

Referendum will be voted on next Tuesday

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 10/28/97.

The voters in the Paynesville Area School District are being asked to extend the excess levy for 10 years at the ballot boxes on Tuesday, Nov. 4. Polls are open from noon to 8 p.m. in the west lobby of the elementary school.

The voters are being asked to approve raising $488,389 for the district in the excess levy referendum. Of that total, $128,511 will be raised locally and equalization aid from the state will cover $359,878. This will be the third time voters will head to the polls to vote on an excess levy for the district.

ďThe excess levy has provided the district with an opportunity to enhance its programs and facilities,Ē Superintendent Howard Caldwell said. ďThe excess levy has enabled the district to get out of a negative balance and return some of the programs we cut in 1990,Ē he added.

At the start of the 1988-89 school year, the school district had a deficit of $463,639. With the passage of the first excess levy (1988) for $186,000, and budget reductions of $150,000 in the spring of 1990, the district has been able to gradually eliminate the deficit and build a reserve.

As a result of the additional funds provided by the excess levy since 1993, the district has been able to add about 13 new teachers/teacher assistants throughout the district in the special education, science, math, and elementary classrooms.

In 1993-94 the district added:
ēA full-time community education director.
ēWent to everyday, half day kindergarten.
ēComputerized elementary and high school library search system.

In 1994-95:
ēResurfaced high school parking lot.
ēObtained new playground equipment for the elementary playground.
ēHired instructional assistant in high school computer lab.
ēContinued to computerize library system at elementary school.

In 1995-96
ēAdded part-time high school German teacher.
ēPurchased software for middle school social and science departments.
ēResurfaced the tennis courts.
ēCompleted the long jump/pole vault runways.
ēInstalled a movable wall on the elementary gym stage.
ēPurchased new band equipment and choir risers.

In 1996-97:
ēUpgraded the computers throughout the school district.
ēRemodeled high school bathrooms.
ēAdded padding on the walls in the high school gym.
ēAssisted in adding new lights to the baseball field.

In 1997-98
ēAdded Spanish as an offering at the high school.
ēConstructed a new concessions stand/storage building at the high school athletic field.
ēPurchased new 10-passenger van.
ēWindow and sidewalk replacement at elementary school.

At present the district is in the process of installing Internet into all the classrooms to enhance learning opportunities to students of all ages. Without the excess levy funds, a bond would have had to be purchased.

Future needs for continued improvements have been identified as adding, upgrading and maintaining computer equipment.
ēContinue to keep class sizes small.
ēFind ways to develop an individ-ualized learning plan for each student.
ēFind ways to improve the involve-ment of parents in their childís educational program.
ēContinue to improve each curriculum area on a scheduled basis so that education needs are continually met.
ēContinue to maintain and improve all buildings and grounds on a yearly basis.
ēSupport and provide appropriate staff development of all staff members.

ďI feel the district is providing students with a quality education. It is important that voters turn out at the polls, to ensure we can continue to maintain the level of educationwe provide,Ē Caldwell said.

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