For two hours last night, at least 300 braved the bitter cold and listened to various leaders across the DC school district discuss the budget situation that faces Dassel and Cokato.
The issues facing the district are strikingly similar to those of other rural school districts.
Local taxation issues and high property taxes have pushed people to the point that they can no longer take on additional taxes.
Special Education costs are eating school budgets alive. The DC school district expends $1 million more than it takes in from Special Education, while Federal mandates are problematic the lack of state and federal appropriations cause greater pain.
Some seek to micromanage the local school boards yet do not hold them, or other locally elected officials, accountable for their actions, or a lack thereof.
Overall, the tone of the meeting was very upbeat. There was not the tension that one may have expected. Information around the various budget areas was explained and questions were taken. A deeper explanation of some areas is expected in the future.
Cuts are coming. Where though is up in the air.
It sounds like the school will try another levy in the near future, as they face Statutory Operating Debt by 2011-12.
Hats off to Rep Urdahl for making it up to the forum. Too bad Rep Shimanski and Senator Dille were too busy to see what's going on.