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Final Pre-Referendum Meeting Held At Northland Pines


The final public information meeting on a proposed $3.9 million Northland Pines school district referendum for the next three years set for a vote Feb. 16 was held at the high school in Eagle River with four members of the public present.

District Administrator Mike Richie repeated the rational behind the request explaining high property values plus declining enrollment has cut state aid that along with state levy caps put in place by Act 16 in 1993-94 has squeezed the district. “If the state funding formula doesn't change we'll have to continue going to the voters,” Richie said. “Our current $2.7 million dollar referendum is in its third and final year. If the voters turn us down, we'll have to cut $4,237,502 each year.” The actual impact is an increase of $1.2 million above the current referendum.

The district request is for operations, funding a school police liaison officer, and school security camera upgrades. Richie indicated should it pass, they must fund the officer position all three years. Richie listed past cuts but didn't want to discuss future cuts since none have been presented to the school board, simply saying he felt “students would flock out of this district if we didn't have cocirculars” and that would just add to the deficit.

If approved Feb. 16 the school tax rate would increase from $5.97 to $6.31 per $1,000 value adding $34 in taxes on a $100,000 home.

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