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GFW board OKs August levy amount request

FAIRFAX –The Gibbon Fairfax Winthrop (GFW) School Board unanimously approved setting an Aug. 11 (primary election) operating levy referendum amount Monday.

Raising the operating levy referendum to $1,406 per pupil unit (PPU) came on a motion by board member Phil Klenk, seconded by Jason Haas.

The operating levy hike is between higher and lower suggested levy amounts and would boost annual taxes on a home in the school district valued at $100,000 by $200 a year.

Superintendent Lonnie Seifert recommended a 10-year levy hike in order to help the district get out of Statutory Operating Debt (SOD), defined as a year-end Net Negative Unreserved General Fund balance exceeding more than 2 1/2 percent of its unreserved/undesignated operating expenditures.

“You just have to be honest and tell the public to decide if they want to support the district or not. The levy referendum could help the district get out of debt,” Seifert said.

“I think we don’t have a choice. We have to do it,” Haas said.

The board unanimously approved:

* Offering superintendent interviews to three finalist candidates on Thursday, May 21, motion by Klenk, seconded by Becky Vos.

All finalists have superintendent licenses and include Sleepy Eye High School Principal Shane Laffen and two men, who have doctoral degrees that don’t live locally.

The board will interview the superintendent finalists in a virtual, special meeting beginning at 5:40 p.m., May 21. Consultants Harold Remme and Ed Waltman will discuss the candidates with the board before a finalist is chosen and parameters of a new superintendent contract are discussed.

* A collection agency agreement to assist with $4,500 in overdue accounts, motion by Vos, seconded by Kelsey Odegard.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.

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