At a November 20 Greenbush-Middle River school board meeting, district resident Mark Stromsodt asked whatever happened to that committee group of parents, community members, administrators and staff members that was being put together in 2016 to come up with a community-minded answer to the district’s problem following the failure of the 2015 vote to build a new school in the Greenbush area.
“It obviously never came to that because the school board, for whatever reasons, didn’t get the group together, didn’t have input from the community, so again tried to make the decision on their own and saw again the same results,” Stromsodt said. “It shows 70% roughly to 30% that just doesn’t agree with what you guys are trying to pass. So I come back again and say, ‘Why not get the community input?’
The school board decided to do just that, agreeing to visit different community groups to hear what people have to say in an effort to try and get something passed. By the December board meeting, each board member agreed to email or call GMR Superintendent Tom Jerome with a list of different organizations he or she can speak to within the district. Jerome later asked board members, when they do go to these meetings, to go there as representatives of the school district– as board members.
Before it arrived at this decision, Melby asked if the board was going to form the committee group it discussed in February 2016, or if board members were going to start visiting with different community groups. He didn’t mind either option, just as long as it attained a specific goal.
“We need a referendum (passed) no matter what we do,” Melby said.
Board member Melby referenced the voting results over recent years, pointing out the latest ones, where the district as a whole and each of its two precincts voted down both a $400,000 capital projects levy and a $400,000 operating levy at the November 7 special election.
The vote breakdown of each levy was as followed (with the votes by precinct in parentheses): The first question on the operating levy received 289 yes votes (Greenbush: 262; Middle River: 27) to 722 no votes (Greenbush: 286; Middle River: 436), or failed by an approximate 29% to 71% margin. The second question on the capital project levy received 257 yes votes (Greenbush: 240; Middle River: 17) and 754 no votes (Greenbush: 309; Middle River 445), or failed by an approximate 25% to 75% margin.
To see the full school board story, read the November 29 issue of The Tribune in print or online.