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Bond refunding to save WDC School District taxpayers money

Students in grades 5-12 received iPad Air 2 computers during the first week of school. Technology Director Shane Snyder and IT Specialist Nick DeVillers handed out the brand-new computers to each student. Photo by Dana Pavek/WDC Schools

Taxpayers will receive some relief as Wadena-Deer Creek School District looks at bond refunding.

Jodie Zesbaugh, Senior Municipal Advisor for Ehlers presented information about the bond refunding to the WDC School Board Monday night.

By refunding $1,260,000 in General Obligation School Building Bonds, the district should save about $30,000 between fiscal years 2018-2020, she said.

The district's existing bonds have interest rates of 4 percent and based on current market conditions refunding would result in interest rates of about 2 percent, Zesbaugh said. This is the district's only debt and the refinancing will go well with the future plans of the school district, she added.

The board approved the bond refunding schedule. The estimated closing date is Nov. 9, 2016 and the redemption date for the current bonds is Feb. 1, 2017.

"This will really be an asset to the school district," Ann Pate said.

In other business, the board:

• Approved the 2017 preliminary levy at the maximum amount of just over $1,303,600 which is less than 1 percent over last year's levy.

• Set the Truth and Taxation Hearing for 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19.

• Approved a policy allowing for free admission for all WDC students at home events this year. The policy allows for free admission for all 5-12 students and free admission for all K-4 students accompanied by a paying adult. Admission for WDC events will stay at $5 per adult and $3 for visiting students. Season passes are available in the high school office for adults at a cost of $50, while 10 event punch passes are $30. Golden passes are available for free to residents of the WDC School District who are 62 years of age or older. Superintendent Lee Westrum said there has been a lot of success with the free admission and the goal is to increase student participation.

• Acknowledged the WDC technology team that includes Director Shane Snyder, IT Specialist Nick DeVillers, Summer Tech Assistants Derek Plautz, Zack Pary and Thomas Quincer for their work on the district's iPads. WDC students in grades 5-12 received new iPad Air 2 computers this year. Many of the old iPads were sold during a technology sale open to the public this summer. Snyder attended Monday night's board meeting and said the new iPads include rugged cases and screen protectors and are nearly indestructable. Westrum said students seem thrilled about the new computers, including his fifth grader who has been using the iPad every night to do homework.

• Approved a new substitute teacher daily pay rate at $120 per day, an increase from $101 per day. The district wanted to raise the price to be competitive among neighboring districts. The increased pay will raise the year's budget approximately $18,000 per year based on last year's substitute pay, said Business Manager Brian Jacobson.

• Accepted the resignation of Brittany Umland, HS/MS paraprofessional.

• Hired Danette Lehmann, Kids Club paraprofessional, Emily Kreklau, fifth/sixth grade interventionist, CeCe Graphenteen, Kids Krew paraprofessional, Sharon Folkestad, long term paraprofessional sub, Harliegh Davidson, HS/MS paraprofessional and Kate Waln, long term paraprofessional sub.

• Approved lane changes for teachers Angie Moats, Tracy Jack, Laura Kiser and Kendra Schultz.

• Heard an update from WDC Elementary Principal Louis Rutten. He said students are participating in the free breakfast program and the school has started using a gradual release to minimize the noise level in the cafeteria. Students who arrive to the cafeteria early are now dismissed to their classrooms when they are finished eating rather than waiting, he said.

• Approved a Community Concern for Youth resolution of sponsorship.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561