Lyle school plan now goes to voters

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 17, 2002

The Lyle School Board approved a resolution for its school bond in a 5-1 voice vote at its meeting Monday.

That resolution notifies Mower and Freeborn counties that a special election for the $11.1 million bond issue for a new school will be held Nov. 5.

Board member Darci Kline voted against the resolution. After the vote she asked if the bond had to be voted on Nov. 5, but board president Dwight DeBoer said that by law they had to hold it Nov. 5.

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"There's a lot of questions out there yet," Kline said. "There's definitely a big difference between in-town and out-of-town communities. Maybe this isn't something we have to do this year."

"And it will be better next year?" asked board member Kent Golberg.

Kline said the voters need more information before making the decision.

DeBoer said the board will plan more meetings where the public can ask questions.

Kline said some of the people she had talked to said they wished there was more time for question at the meeting Sept. 10, when the board presented the plan to residents.

DeBoer said last week's meeting was to get the information out and the following meetings will have more time for residents to ask questions.

"The money is the big thing for the farmers," Kline said. While in-town residents will see taxes increase up to $500, farming residents could see an increase in the thousands, she said.

Before the approval of the bond resolution, Lyle farmer Carlton Ruter spoke about his concerns with the bond and farmer representation on the school board.

"I guest to start off with, my main concern is I don't see a

lot of agricultural representation on the school board," Ruter said. "The cost of the school is going to end up on the farmers."

Kline and her husband run a farm outside of Lyle and board member Randy Fett farmed up until five years ago.

Ruter said schools are tending to see smaller enrollments and pointed to Austin and Southland as examples of that. He asked that without the out-of-district students whether the school would be able to sustain itself.

Fett said no, but because of the leadership in the school, it attracts families from out of town.

Ruter said the school has had to work hard to get out-of-district students to come the Lyle, such as picking students up at their homes.

Fett said if the Lyle School ended up closing, taxes would increase.

Ruter said he talked with a farmer in the Southland school district, but in the same township he lives in. Southland's tax base is around 60 percent, he said. That farmer's taxes are $7 an acre, while Ruter's will be $10 an acre if the bond is approved.

Ruter said because there isn't commercial tax base in Lyle, taxes will be higher.

DeBoer said the school is Lyle's industry and that the community needs to invest in it. Board member Doug Young agreed, saying that he hopes the new school will bring more residents and industry to Lyle.

In other business:

n The board approved a contract for Julie Ruis, Lyle's new kindergarten teacher. The contract for $16,620 is good until the end of the school year.

n Principal Royce Helmbrecht said the student council plans to talk to the board about cell phone use at school. Currently the students are not allowed to have cell phones or pagers in school, but the students would like to be able to have them because it helps them keep in touch with their parents during the day. Helmbrecht suggested that the students be allowed to have them, but that they be turned off during class.

n Helmbrecht also said some seniors are falling short one half credit as a result of the switch two years ago from semester schedule to a four-period day. Helmbrecht said later he plans to ask the board to let the health class make up for that credit.

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