Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, May 25, 1998

HLWW approaches Lester Prairie about school pairing


The Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school district has approached the Lester Prairie district regarding pairing and sharing of districts.

Lester Prairie Board Member Barry Kyllo and Supt. James Redfield told other board members Tuesday that they attended a meeting recently with the HLWW school board chair, building committee chair, and superintendent.

"I wasn't around in the 1980s when I think that was the last time pairing was talked about, but I understand there were a lot of bad feelings," Kyllo said. "I didn't get that sense this time. I was impressed with the manner (the meeting) was done," he said.

Kyllo told the board the HLWW district is going to build a new high school and is working with a consultant on bonding and tax issues.

"They want the bonding referendum by this fall . . . and they are going to do this regardless of what we do. Part of their plan is to pull back the open enrollment kids," Kyllo said. "If they are successful, it will have ramifications in Lester Prairie," he said.

Presently, about 100 students are open enrolled from the HLWW district to Lester Prairie.

Board Member Chet Hoernemann did not feel he had enough information to make a decision. The board will have an informal retreat on June 12 at Board Member Nancy Krull's home. It was agreed to talk about it more then.

"I think we should open communication with all schools in the area that might cooperate," Redfield said. "But the study by Don Christensen also showed that people feed very strongly about having a K-12 program here," he said.

Open gym

A letter from Athletic Director Bob Kuehl and several other coaches requested the open gym program held during the summer be continued, and as in previous years, at no charge.

The letter brought about two discussions.

First, Redfield said he was not happy that the letter circumvented the community education board and himself, as community education director.

The second, said Hoernemann, community education liaison, was that community ed lost $350 last year on the program.

Hoernemann said community ed wants the open gym program to be self-supporting and, because it is free, one group comes in and dominates the gym.

"When people pay, they are more responsible and community ed has more control," he said.

After some discussion, the board agreed with Kyllo that "this is not school board business, it's community ed business."

The issue was turned over to Redfield, as director, to decide if there should be an open gym program, and if so, to set a fee for usage.

On another issue, the board agreed that if a teacher wanted to use the school for some type of lesson during the summer, it would have to be part of the community education program.

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