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Clara City EDA cautious about three-way MACCRAY dialogue

CLARA CITY -- Members of the Clara City Economic Development Authority agreed Monday to take a cautious approach on whether or not to meet with their counterparts in Raymond and Maynard over issues dividing the MACCRAY School District.

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CLARA CITY - Members of the Clara City Economic Development Authority agreed Monday to take a cautious approach on whether or not to meet with their counterparts in Raymond and Maynard over issues dividing the MACCRAY School District.

EDA members Gary Nelson and Chad Forkrud said they would check personally with the mayors of Raymond and Maynard and sound them out about the idea. Clara City's EDA members took up the discussion at their meeting Monday, one month after meeting with MACCRAY School Board chairman Lane Schwitters and Superintendent Brian Koslofsky.

They had met with the two school officials to discuss issues following the second rejection by MACCRAY voters of a bond issue for a single-campus system.

EDA members said they felt that both the chairman and superintendent were supportive of opening dialogue among the three communities that make up the school district and the proposal for a joint meeting of the three cities' EDA boards.

"I have mixed feelings about it,'' said Clara City EDA member James Thein during discussions by the members. He was among members who said they were not sure it was the EDA's role to involve itself in a school issue, and whether that involvement would be beneficial.

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EDA President Chad Forkrud pointed out that it was the school board's responsibility to educate the public about school issues. "I'm not sure why we're the fact checker,'' he said.

EDA members noted that the board has not taken a position on either of the two bonding proposals the school district has put to voters.

The Raymond and Maynard city councils had approved resolutions opposing the $38.8 million bond measure to build a single elementary school and auditorium on the high school campus in Clara City. Voters in the Feb. 7 referendum rejected it by a vote of 1,108 to 1,003.

Timing is also an issue, said the Clara City EDA members. Currently, there is no new school proposal on the table to discuss. And, they pointed out that the MACCRAY School Board is divided three-to-three, making it unclear whether an initiative to open discussions will be productive at this point.

But members also pointed out that a dialogue could serve to move things forward. A dialogue by the three communities could also address misconceptions among the communities about economic development efforts. EDA member Windy Block said it would offer an opportunity to "clear the air'' among the three communities.

EDA members also said it is important for the communities to support one another. They don't want to see divisions over the school issue adversely affect other activities.

Related Topics: CLARA CITYMAYNARD
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