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

By Natascha Watercott
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Issue in Willow school's water bill


At the June 19 Willow River school board meeting, the board discussed options for spending the remaining construction Long Term Facilities Maintenance (LTFM) and Health and Safety funds. Superintendent Bill Peel noted there is currently $267,800 in LTFM funding and that the board needs to come up with a plan for it. He asked which projects they wanted to concentrate on, adding that there are still a few months left of summer, enough time to complete a couple of projects before school starts back up; the rest would have to wait until next year.

Peel noted that some of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in the school’s 2000 addition could be replaced, and that air conditioning could be added to the elementary gym. Other potential projects include adding new sidewalks and carpet, putting in football lights, adding handicap accessibility/doors and absorption panels in the high school gym, replacing fencing and lockers, adding playground chips, plumbing fixtures and valves and parking lot pavement. The estimated total cost of these projects is about $264,000.

The board approved a motion to move forward with installing carpeting not to exceed $25,000 and the new football lights not to exceed $50,000. They will consider the other projects at next month’s meeting.

Meal rates increased

The board approved a 10 percent increase for breakfast and lunch across all categories. Peel noted that, compared to other surrounding districts, Willow River has some of the cheapest breakfast and lunch prices.

High school breakfast will be $1. Preschool and Elementary (K-6) breakfast is free. Lunch for Preschool and Elementary (K-6) will be $2.10. High school lunch will be $2.25. Adult breakfast will be $1.95 and lunch will be $3.70. The cost of reduced breakfast and lunch for all grades will continue to be free.

Water bill discrepancy


Peel brought up an issue with the school’s water bill. He noted the school typically uses around 37,000 to 40,000 gallons of water per month. In either March or April of this year, the usage jumped up to 110,000 gallons. He stated that a thorough inspection showed no signs of a leak and does not know where the extra 60,000 gallons came from.

“Even if we left on every faucet for an entire week, we wouldn’t run that much water,” said Peel. He stated they will be going to the city council to try and resolve the issue.

Elementary Field Day

Nikki Molis, assistant to the elementary principal, reported that Track and Field Day on May 29 was a big success. She stated there were a lot of great social media comments posted and thanked everyone who helped set up and run the event. She is hoping the event will be even bigger next year.

Other board members commented that the event was bigger than in the past and were impressed with the students who participated, especially those who aren’t normally interested in sports; they hope this will get more students excited for track and field.

The board gratefully accepted the following donations:

– For Backpacks for Snacks, $50 from Mary and Harvey Maceij and $100 from Oak Lake Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (WELCA).

– For the softball field scoreboard, $2,958.04 from an anonymous donor.


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