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Buses drive discussion by WDC board meeting

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news Wadena, 56482

Wadena Minnesota 314 S. Jefferson, P.O. Box 31 56482

The regular July board meeting of District 2155 Monday evening was dominated by tornado-related business in which school buses drove the discussion.

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The Thomas and Bluebird Bus Companies joined Hoglund Bus and Truck with bids for the school board to consider. Transportation director Tim Wohlert recommended at the special July 12 meeting of the Wadena-Deer Creek school board that the school purchase or lease eight full-sized buses and two 14-passenger buses. A new full-sized school bus costs $80,000.

Since the average age of the buses destroyed or damaged in the June 17 tornado was 10 years old, the district received $287,000 to cover their loss. Half of that amount is going to repair seven of the buses that are still usable.

Since the district cannot afford even two new school buses with the funds they have available, they are looking at leasing buses.

WDC superintendent Virginia Dahlstrom has found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide funding to lease buses up to six months but they will not buy buses.

Wohlert has stated that five buses were undamaged and seven more are being repaired. He expressed a concern Monday night that not all of the seven buses being repaired may be ready in time for school.

"I need to have eight other buses to start school on time," Wohlert said.

The board is expected to take action on the bus fleet question at their July 26 meeting. School begins Sept. 7.

While progress is being made on setting up WDC students and staff at four different sites -- St. Ann's, WDC Elementary, M State-Wadena and Deer Creek -- the issue of what will be done with WDC High School is very much undecided. Riverport Insurance promised a decision by July 7. Dahlstrom expected to meet with the Minnesota attorney general Friday in St. Paul in order to expedite the report. The district has a blanket coverage policy on school property up to $54 million and plans have been made to look at other high schools in the area in order to get building design ideas.

Business manager Jerry Anderson has set up a new account related to tornado costs. The account stood at $139,152.64 on July 19.

"That's just a minute beginning of what is to come," Anderson said.

The largest bill ($48,539.69) was one for site visitation and scope determination by One Call Contracting, a decision made by the district's insurance company.

In other board business, chairwoman Ann Pate and board members Wayne Perkins and John Moenkedick have filed for re-election to the board in November. Sara Lee and Cass-Clay were granted the bread and milk business for the 2010-2011 school year.

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