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Community meeting scheduled on Paynesville school project

PAYNESVILLE -- A community meeting to discuss a school facilities project will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Paynesville Area Center.

The meeting has been organized by community members who have questions about the process used to develop the project.

The Paynesville School Board has proposed an extensive remodeling of its heating and ventilation systems, including the installation of new boilers and switching the old steam heat system over to hot water heat.

The project is expected to cost about $16.5 million. Because the work falls in the category of health and safety improvements, the school district can raise the tax levy for the project without asking the taxpayers for permission.

After taxpayers objected to the project, the School Board agreed to revisit the plan this fall.

The next board meeting will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday in the elementary school media center.

According to Paul Bugbee of Paynesville, a businessman involved in the issue, the levy would burden the school district for 20 years and could jeopardize future requests for operating levies to support the district.

Bugbee said he is a longtime supporter of the school district, but he questions the need for such an extensive project. "The first priority is the kids' education," he said.

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

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