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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WILLMAR -- Willmar School District voters overwhelmingly approved a renewal of an operating levy for the district on Tuesday. The vote was 3,944 in favor and 1,076 against the renewal of the $498.49-per-pupil levy. The total is unofficial until the results are canvassed by the School Board. Of the 5,020 people who voted, 78.6 percent cast ballots in favor of the levy.
WILLMAR -- The weekend of Oct.
MONTEVIDEO -- A two-question school operating levy was approved Tuesday in the Montevideo School District. Question 1, to revoke a $505-per-pupil levy and replace it with $700, was approved 1,542 yes to 690 no. Question 2, for an additional $200 per pupil, was approved 1,396 yes to 826 no. Superintendent Luther Heller said he was pleased with the results.
WILLMAR - Nearly 2,000 voters had gone to the polls in the Willmar School District by 1 p.m. today. Voters in Willmar and six other area school districts are seeking approval for operating or capital levies today. Polls are open until 8 p.m. in the Willmar, New London-Spicer, Redwood Valley, BOLD, Benson, Montevideo and Dawson-Boyd districts.
WILLMAR -- Members of the Willmar City Council made it clear Monday that they do not plan to disband the Willmar Police Department. They really never did, but it came up during a budget brainstorming discussion, and word spread from there. Then Councilman Doug Reese started getting phone calls and letters. At the City Council meeting Monday, Reese raised the issue, though it wasn't on the agenda. According to a recent survey, "police protection is a valued service of our city," he said. "I'm not sure where people got their information," he said, but he had been receiving letters urging hi
WILLMAR -- Voters will go to the polls in seven area school districts Tuesday to vote on local levies. Voters who will not be able to go to the polls on Tuesday may still vote absentee. Absentee voting is available at school districts offices until the close of business today. The Willmar, Montevideo, BOLD, Dawson-Boyd, Redwood Valley and Benson school districts are seeking levies to pay for school operations.
When she attended Willmar High School, her teachers prepared her to be able to succeed later in life, Liz Van Der Bill said Wednesday. As leader of Education Matters in Willmar, Van Der Bill, of Willmar, is campaigning to extend a school operating levy that will provide the same preparation for children in the future. She spoke at the Willmar Noon Lions meeting Wednesday at the Willmar Community and Activity Center. The Willmar School District is asking to extend an existing $498.49 per pupil operating levy which expires at year's end.
Opponents of an operating levy ren-ewal in Willmar hope a defeat of the levy will help spur more discussion of education reform. The group opposes the district's effort to renew a $498.49-per-pupil operating levy. "The economic model for education is broken," said David Herzer, a member of the group Willmar-StudentsFirst which is opposing the renewal of the levy. Herzer said the group feels that the Willmar School Board has not tackled the idea of school reform or engaged the community in the discussion.
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