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School taxes to drop $156,000 in 2019

The tax break anticipated by Wadena-Deer Creek school board members took definite shape Monday night at the October meeting in Robertson Theatre.

Jodie Zesbaugh, a Senior Municipal Advisor for Ehlers Financial, presented the board with the results of a sale of $1,250,000 General Obligation School Building Refunding Bonds that adds up $39,149.81 in savings on the district's debt service and will offer a tax break of $156,000 for District 2155 taxpayers in 2019.

The bonds were purchased by United Banker's Bank of Bloomington, Minn. on Monday morning at a true interest rate of 1.1150 percent.

Other bids were submitted by Northland Securities of Minneapolis, Baird of Milwaukee, Wis. and Nicolaus Stifel of Birmingham, Ala.

Ehlers was originally planning to offer $1,260,000 in bonds but reduced that amount by $10,000 because they encountered higher premium rates than anticipated.

The funds offered came from the 2018-2020 maturities of a 2010 debt issue by the school district according to Zesbaugh.

Zesbaugh drew some laughter from board members when she pointed out "this is very similar to refinancing a home mortgage except that you don't get to keep the net savings, you have to pass it on to your taxpayers in the form of future debt service levy reductions."

The board approved the report.

Superintendent Lee Westrum asked board members for their thoughts on allowing senior students to submit pictures of themselves with guns, bow or other hunting weapons for publication in the school yearbook.

"I don't have a problem as long as they are not pointing it at the camera," Board Member Steve Techam said.

The question has come up before, Westrum said, but now that WDC offers trapshooting as an extracurricular activity it has become more of an issue.

"We have to be specific about which type of weapon we will allow," Westrum said. "No matter what our policy we have it has to be at the discretion of the administration as to what we do. We would like some basic rules to give the students."

Board Chairman Peter Hayes said no matter kind of weapon a student posed with he would not like seeing the game they took with it in a school yearbook.

Westrum added that many pictures submitted for the school's Student Showcase feature involve a hunting weapon.

The board did not vote on the question but left it to the discretion of Secondary Principal Tyler Church, who works closely with yearbook advisor Beth Hawkins.

"I don't think there will be a ton of kids who will want to do this but there will be some," Church said.

In one personnel move, the board approved the hiring of Amanda Skoog to serve as a middle school/high school paraprofessional.