Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Upgrades may impact taxpayers


Costs for the boiler replacement project and smaller projects at the Barnum schools will be higher than it was first thought, Superintendent Dave Bottem announced to the Barnum School Board on Tuesday, November 18.

With other expenses, such as fees for the financial advisor, bond counsel, rating agency, paying agent and county certificates, the 10-year bond would be $1,455,000.

At the last meeting, he estimated the cost to be $900,000 to $1 million, and that those costs could be paid back over a 10-year period with funds the school is already receiving.

However, due to the higher cost, Supt. Bottem said he has been speaking with Betsy Knoche of Ehlers and Associates about Alternative Facilities Bonds, which will result in a slight increase in property taxes paid by school district residents.

The information about the project will be sent to the Minnesota Department of Education for approval.

Knoche will attend the December board meeting to explain the financing and tax impact for the project, Supt. Bottem concluded.

Kristi Wickstrom, Community Education director, spoke to the board about an accreditation program for the Bomber Club, an after-school program where students learn valuable information about various subjects.

“We are the first school outside of the metro area to get this accreditation,” said Wickstrom.

“I think that this is a big deal that Barnum is doing this,” said Supt. Bottem. “No one else outside of the metro area is doing it.”

“People think that parents just drop their kids off after school like at a babysitter’s,” said board member Colleen Fetters. “But those kids are really doing the program.”

Courtney Oetterer, high school media specialist, and Alisha Dammer, high school counselor, met with the board to explain the Ramp Up to Readiness program.

The program helps students set goals for college and future careers.

“A high percentage of future jobs will require a college education,” said Oetterer.

Ramp Up to Readiness is an advisory-based program, and students participate in workshops, where they learn about tools to use in several categories.

Dammer distributed papers given to the students to help them track their progress toward their goals for future careers. The students also receive a form that asks them to list their career of interest, and a form to list financial information about the options available to help pay for college, she said.

Dammer said the advisors will be meeting with parents in the spring to talk about the goals for their children.

“We ask the students about what they can do now towards the future career that they want, and help them improve their focus on those goals,” said Dammer. “This gives them a template. A web-based program helps them use this tool. They are required to have a plan, but they can change it.”

In other business, the board approved the audit report, and approved continuing to purchase services from the Northern Lights Special Education Cooperative.

The Truth in Taxation hearing was set for the next meeting of the board on Tuesday, December 16, at 6:30 p.m. in the board room.

The reorganizational meeting of the Barnum School Board was set for January 12, 2015, at 5:30 p.m.


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