Board mulls over 2012 operating referendum

/ 26 April 2012 / jennifer

Jeff Norton, Chisago County Press, April 26, 2012 –

Will Chisago Lakes School District be sharing some ink with President Barack Obama, Republican nominee Mitt Romney and a host of other politicians this voting season?

That’s the question the Chisago Lakes School Board asked itself at the regular school board meeting on Thursday, April 19.

The consensus among the board was that the district needs an operating referendum, but that it might not be the best time to put it on the ballot.

Traditionally, when operating referenda are on the ballot in a big election year that includes national and state-wide races, the referenda don’t fare so well.

“I’m tired of cutting budgets, but I’m realistic and realize it might not be the best time for one,” Superintendent Mike McLoughlin said. But, he did say that if the board was to put a referendum on the ballot this fall, they had to start putting the wheels into motion. “We have to work through a plan with the board to share with the staff before summer,” McLoughlin said. “If we want our best effort, we can’t wait any longer.”

Board member Jerry Vitalis chimed in, saying, “I do think we need a referendum, but I don’t think this is going to be the year.” The board was to get some more information and they would begin their action on the matter at the next meeting on whether they were going to include a referendum on the ballot or not.

The schools will be switching Athletic Training Services beginning next year. Chisago Lakes has been with Fairview for some time, but St. Croix Regional Medical Center decided to put a bid in this year, and it was decidedly lower than Fairview’s bid.

Fairview bid the same amount they always have, according to Director of Business Services Heide Miller, which is $15,312 a year and $19.20 an hour for extra time (weekend and summer tournaments) They also charged $5 for each concussion test and $25 for physicals at Fairview Clinics, with all the proceeds of the physicals returned to Chisago Lakes.

St. Croix Regional Medical Center came in with a bid of $9,975 for a year. They will charge $25 per hour for extra events, but the concussion tests are unlimited and included in the base bid. Physicals will also be $20 now, with all proceeds still going to Chisago Lakes.

The savings on just the base price is $5,337 per year, and Miller said she figured the extra cost in the hourly rate would be cancelled out by the unlimited concussion tests done by SCRMC.

The board also heard that between Taylor Falls Elementary and the Chisago Lakes Primary School, 925 of 939 students had parents attend conferences for a 98 percent participation rate.

The board again tabled the decision to move to the Mississippi 8 Conference or stay in the North Suburban Conference. To read more about the discussion, check out Page 12 in the Sports Section of this week’s County Press.