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 -- Hiring a new president is one of the most important jobs for the regents of the University of Minnesota. Hiring a football coach isn't technically the regents' job, Regent Dean Johnson of Willmar said this week, but a healthy football program can have a far-reaching impact on a major university. University President Bob Bruininks plans to retire in June 2011. Johnson talked about the progress toward finding a successor this week before leaving for a three-day regents meeting in the Twin Cities.
Several area school districts had seats filled by write-in votes in the Nov. 2 election, because the number of open seats on their boards outnumbered the candidates who filed for office.
WILLMAR -- The two juniors from Worthington High School stood on the stage of the theater at Kennedy Elementary School and described the effect the Nobles County Integration Collaborative has had on their lives. They have gone on college visits, gotten help with homework and learned leadership skills, said Ananaya Alwal. Both girls said they were from large, single-parent families. "We feel that without the collaborative, we wouldn't be as motivated," said Apoman Abella. The staff members of Nobles County Integration Collaborative "are there all the time," Alwal said.
WILLMAR -- A week after voters turned down a request for an operating levy, the Willmar Schools officials have left no doubt that there will be another vote in November 2011. At Monday's School Board meeting, Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard said he has already met with Education Matters, the citizens' group that supported the previous levy. Because the $498.49 levy will expire after this year, the district will be asking voters to at least renew the levy next year.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board will meet at 4:30 p.m. Monday in the board room on the first floor of the Willmar Education and Arts Center, 611 Fifth St. S.W. The board is scheduled to discuss the audit of fiscal year 2010. They will meet with representatives of from Conway, Deuth and Schmiesing of Willmar, which conducted the audit. The audit indicates that the district's general fund balance was about $4.8 million, about 12 percent of annual expenditures.
WILLMAR -- Dan Croonquist, Linda Mathiasen and Nathan Streed were elected to four-year terms on the Willmar School Board in Tuesday's election. The three were chosen from a field of seven candidates.
WILLMAR -- Voters in the Willmar School District have turned back an operating levy that would have raised an additional $1.8 million a year for the next 10 years. The voters refused to revoke a $498.49 levy per pupil unit and replace it with an $898.49 levy. The vote was 4,627 no to 4,411 yes. The $498.49 levy is set to expire next year. School officials have said they will likely try again next year.
M'Angelo Harris wants to be an elementary teacher. He's confident he'll make it, and the TRiO program at Ridgewater College will have played a role. Harris, 26, of Minneapolis, said TRiO has helped him in many ways as a first-generation college student. TRiO has been on campus for five years and will be around for another five years, thanks to a federal grant received this fall. $237,602 will be provided per year through the grant to help low-income, first-generation or disabled students.
WILLMAR -- Forty percent of Minnesota families that would be eligible for food support have not applied for it. Seventy percent of those eligible for energy assistance aren't receiving it. One-fifth of eligible families aren't claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or Working Family Credit on their taxes. The Children's Defense Fund has developed the Bridge to Benefits website, available in a number of states to help people determine if they are eligible for a variety of public assistance programs. The website is www.
WILLMAR -- Voters in the Willmar School District will decide Tuesday whether to approve an operating levy of $400 per pupil for the next 10 years. In the operating levy vote Tuesday, the district proposes revoking a levy of $498.49 per pupil unit and replacing it with an $898.49 levy. If the new levy is approved, school property taxes would increase about $10 a month for each $100,000 in property value on residential and business property in the district. The current levy raises about $2.4 million a year, while the proposed levy would raise about $4.2 million a year.