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Officials in Litchfield School District inundated with questions on levy referendum

LITCHFIELD -- The Litchfield School District has been busy promoting its referendum for the general election while answering questions from the public.

Superintendent Bill Wold said Tuesday the district has made 14 referendum presentations to local groups over the last five weeks and plans to hold a few more in the weeks leading to the Nov. 4 ballot.

"We've been pretty active out there," Wold said. "... For the most part, people in regard to what they're going to do, they are pretty quiet. But they are interested and they seem to be able to look at the information and ask questions.

"It's just good to be out there and be able to talk about the district."

In July, the Litchfield School Board voted to seek a $300-per-student boost to the district's operating levy. The district operates on a 10-year plan approved by voters in 2002 that generates $624,475 annually from its operating levy, or about $300 per student.

If the referendum is passed, the district would implement the new $600-per-student levy in the 2009-10 school year.

"It's always a tightrope in attempting to come up with an amount that is necessary ... versus what the (School) Board thinks will pass with the electorate," Wold said. "That's always a difficult proposition for a board."

Last week, the School District sent levy information brochures to local mailboxes, Wold said. The brochure was modeled after the brochure used for the school district's 2002 levy question, Wold said.

"What were attempting to do is take something complicated such as school funding and put it in fairly simple terms in a brochure for the voters," Wold said. "...We've gotten good feedback regarding our brochure, both from inside the district and people who have seen it from outside the district."

Wold said he has conducted the past presentations to the local groups with a random board member assisting. During discussions, Wold said, the groups have usually asked questions regarding the $600-per-student amount, the 10-year length and whether the levy will last that long.

Wold said the district will end the promotion period by holding a presentation today for the Litchfield Kiwanis, another on Oct. 31 at Zion Lutheran Church in Litchfield and a shorter version during Litchfield's Oct. 23 local candidates' forum.