Herald JournalHerald Journal, Jan. 27, 2003

Board chair re-elected on 4-3 vote

By Lynda Jensen

With a 4-3 vote, school board member Jim Raymond retained his seat as chairman of the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school board, at board the reorganizational meeting Tuesday.

Raymond managed to keep his seat despite persuasion to vote newly appointed Al Doering as chairman.

John Lideen nominated Doering and urged other members to vote for him.

The vote reflected the following: those in favor of Doering were Lideen, Charlie Borrell and Doering; and those in favor of Raymond were Ken Zimmerman, Charles Weber, Jim Fowler, and Raymond.

Vice chair went to Jim Fowler, who replaced outgoing member Gene Lorentz. Doering replaced Fowler as clerk, and Charles Weber kept the treasurer position.

The board also discussed the fact that five out of the seven board positions ­ Doering, who was appointed to fill out Lorentz's term, Raymond, Fowler, Weber, and Zimmerman ­ will be up for election this fall.

Previously, Supt. George Ladd indicated he would investigate the idea of staggering one of the terms so that the board would not turn over so many positions at once.

Apparently, there was a mistake made in 1999, attributed to human error, that allowed one of the terms to be posted as four years instead of two, Ladd said.

A solution can be found by casting lots for one of the positions, which would make one of the four year terms into a two year for the fall election.

The board could also change from odd to even year elections, or pass a resolution to change one of the terms, although these ideas were less well received.

It was suggested to simply take the next lowest vote-getter, and make that term two years, but this would not legal since voters must be informed ahead of time which people are running for which terms, Ladd said.

Another issue discussed was possibly breaking the school district into voting precincts.

This turned out to be more complex and difficult than previously thought, according to information given to the board by its attorney.

The board should show this information to the Winsted mayor, since he asked about it, Raymond commented. It was decided to share it with all three mayors.

Conservative demographics

The board discussed results of a recent survey completed on the district, which showed conservative numbers for the fast growth of local towns, Ladd said.

The week before, Waverly Mayor Charlie Bush called the numbers too low for Waverly during the Waverly city council meeting.

The projected fast-paced growth would be too strong for HLWW, since the demographics would offer an additional 37 to 60 children per year ­ too much for a district that is overgrown for its room sizes, according to modern standards.

The district is at capacity right now, Ladd said. Both Winsted and Humphrey elementaries are filled, he said. "They're in closets," he said, referring to space.

"It's the type of growth that causes a headache," Ladd said.

Borrell disputed the numbers of potential high school students, saying that most of the families that he sees moving into town, and serving as part of his business, have small children, not teenagers.

Ladd noted that not every housing start automatically has children. HLWW was quoted as having 2.7 children for each start, which outpaces the national average at 2.0, he said.

"One thing we know for certain is if we do nothing ­ the school district does nothing ­ we don't have to worry about this demographic report," Doering commented. "Because we're out of the game. We can just plan on having 900 to 950 students, or actually probably a decline because the other alternative will start to grow and improve," he said.

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