Weather Forecast


School Board planning YouTube videos explaining operating levy

WILLMAR -- Watch for YouTube videos of Willmar School Board members soon.

Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard asked board members at their meeting Monday to sit down in front of a camera and explain why they voted to support the district's operating levy referendum.

Kjergaard said the videos will be posted on YouTube, with links on the district's Web site. He said the district may also be starting a Facebook page this fall, and the videos could be available through that, too.

Board members laughed a little about the idea of making videos, but no one said they wouldn't do it.

Kjergaard said he wants board members to explain in their own words why they decided to ask the voters for the levy this fall.

The board voted last month to place an $898.49-per-pupil-unit operating levy on the Nov. 2 general election ballot. The question will ask voters to revoke an existing $498.49 levy and replace it with the larger one for the next 10 years. The $498.49 levy is set to expire in another year.

School officials have said they hope that the higher levy will allow them to avoid major budget cuts in the coming year. The district has cut more than $6 million from its $40 million budget since 2005.

Kjergaard and Business and Finance Director Pam Harrington said the federal government may provide some money to the states to help save teachers' jobs.

There's nothing definite yet, and they don't know how much money Willmar might receive, but they do know it will most likely be a one-time payment.

Board member Wayne Lenzmeier commented that it makes planning difficult.

This funding was not included in the budget planning for the coming school year, Harrington said, but if the money comes, the district will use it to provide opportunities for kids.

Kjergaard said the U.S. Senate has approved the money for schools, but the House has not yet. If the House is called back into session this month to vote on the bill, the money could be available as soon as September, he said.

The board also heard a report on an electronic time card system to be implemented for employees eligible for overtime and on a project to update job descriptions throughout the district.

The board approved contracts with West Central Sanitation for garbage removal for the next two years and with Hansen Concrete and Glacial Ridge Inc. for snowplowing and removal for the next year.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

(320) 214-4340