Lyle residents react to school decision

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 22, 2002

The day after the Lyle School Board recommended an $11.1 million school construction project with a 25-year bond, Lyle residents have been talking about the impact it will have on the town and their taxes.

Dorothy Berg, of Lyle, said improvements should be made and said Lyle residents will have to pay taxes eventually, even if a new school isn't built.

She also doesn't think some of the parts of the school needed to be replaced.

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Berg agreed that they needed to know more about the project and thought the public meetings the school board plans to begin Sept. 10 should help.

"It will be interesting," Berg said.

The school board plans to get as much information to voters at its meetings with the public. Members also are going to visit homes and farms to talk about the new construction. Lyle residents will vote on the project Nov. 5.

Helen Ashley lives in Austin, but owns farmland outside of Lyle. She thinks the school should be renovated, but is concerned about a tax increase. She rents her farm property out and her renters are concerned.

"They definitely need improvements, but they shouldn't go hog wild," she said.

Lyle teachers Sondra Olawsky and Lynn Brigham said they are looking forward to the possibility of a new school.

Olawsky, who has taught first grade for 12 years, said they will learn more about the plans at teacher workshops next week.

"I've mostly heard from other employees and they're excited," Olawsky said of the plans.

Brigham, who teaches in the middle school, said the administration has discussed new science equipment with them.

Craig Stark, of Lyle, said he supports the renovation, but does not think the school alone will bring more people to town.

"I believe in the school but I believe there's more that needs to be done," he said, adding that the town and school should create more activities for children and teenagers.

Stark is also concerned about his taxes increasing because he said they increased 53 percent last year.

Principal Royce Helmbrecht said he is pleased with the board's decision.

"The community is going to be glad they spent this money. I don't want to sneeze at $1.5 million because it's a lot of money," Helmbrecht said of the difference between the board's recommendation and the $9.9 million plan. "But in the long run, it will pay off."

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at