I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.
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Seven school districts in the area will conduct referendums Tuesday asking voters to approve levies. They join about one-third of Minnesota's school districts in seeking voter approval to raise or maintain funding for their budgets. In the area, Willmar, Montevideo, BOLD, Dawson-Boyd, Redwood Valley and Benson districts are seeking levies to pay for school operations. New London-Spicer is seeking a levy to improve technology capabilities in the district. More than 90 percent of the districts in the state have operating levies on their books.
Luis Fuentes and Maria De La Cruz will be the first in their family to graduate from high school next spring, Ana Espinoza the first to head off to college. When the three get their diplomas with the other members of the Willmar Senior High Class of 2012, they will also be part of a trend of increasing Latino graduation rates. Since the school opened, the percentage of Latino students graduating has moved from 15.5 percent in 1995 to 77.8 percent in 2010, the last year state statistics are available. "That's not fantastic, but it's awfully good," Principal Rob Anderson said recently. The 2
The Willmar Lakes Area Ch-amber of Commerce has en-dorsed passage of the Willmar School District's operating levy renewal. The chamber's Board of Directors voted unanimously to support the levy in the Nov. 8 referendum. The district is asking to renew a local levy of $498.49 per pupil.
If the Willmar operating levy is renewed, a decade of children will benefit from it, Willmar Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard said Wednesday. Kjergaard spoke during an informational meeting about the levy at noon Wednesday at the Willmar Education and Arts Center. The district is seeking the renewal of a $498.49 per pupil levy for nine years. The levy has been in place for the past 10 years and will expire at the end of the year. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 8.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School District will conduct a public information meeting Wednesday about the proposed operating levy renewal. The forum starts at noon Wednesday in the boardroom on the first floor of the Willmar Education and Arts Center, 611 Fifth St. S.W., Willmar. Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard will present information about the levy proposal and answer questions at the meeting. The district is proposing a renewal of a $498.49 per pupil local levy which is about to expire. The renewal of the levy would not cause an increase in property taxes.
Education Matters committee in Willmar is holding a yard sign pickup today. The committee will be distributing signs "We Support Our Schools" this afternoon from 4-6 p.m. in the parking lot at 19 Ave. SW and First Street, Willmar. This location is next to the American Legion. Education Matters is a community committee working in support of the proposed Willmar School levy scheduled for a vote on Nov. 8.
Minnesota is one of just 12 states in the nation that doesn't provide funding for all-day, everyday kindergarten. Still, many of the state's school districts, including Willmar, offer it for their students. They do so while receiving state aid to pay only about half the costs. Willmar's elementary principals talked about the schedule and what it has done for children during the School Board's workshop meeting Monday. Willmar has offered it for all students since 2005.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board will meet in a workshop session at 4:30 p.m. today in the board room on the first floor of the Willmar Education and Arts Center. The agenda includes a discussion of a possible move from all-day, everyday kindergarten to another schedule. The district has had full-time kindergarten classes for several years, but the state only funds half-time kindergarten. If the operating levy renewal on the Nov.
WILLMAR -- Red signs supporting the Willmar School District's operating levy renewal should be popping up all over Willmar today. Volunteers with Education Matters handed out lawn signs Thursday afternoon. In the first hour of their two-hour distribution, they handed out more than half of their 400 signs. The signs are red and white, with a cardinal in one corner and the words, "We Support Our Schools." Education Matters is encouraging people to vote yes on the operating levy renewal on Nov. 8. Voters will decide whether to continue a $498.49 operating levy that is about to expire.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board has adopted a resolution closing Garfield School, but that doesn't mean the building will actually close. The School Board took the action on Monday so the school district can be prepared if the building is sold. The Islamic Society of Willmar made an offer in August to purchase the Garfield building and the northern half of the land. The district made a counteroffer more than a month ago. School officials said Monday that there has been no response yet to the counteroffer.