With the Brainerd School District levy referendum vote less than six weeks away, a volunteer committee has been formed to help grow community support for the vote.
Randy Klinger, chief executive officer for the Brainerd Family YMCA, said Thursday he has agreed to serve as co-chair of the Vote Yes Yes Citizens’ Committee. Miranda Anderson, Essentia Health marketing director, is serving as committee co-chair, he said.
Klinger said the group is in the early planning stages of developing a plan to inform voters about the upcoming levy. He said the core group of volunteers represents all segments of the community.
“We researched other school districts that have experienced successful levies and we’re formulating best practices on a communication plan for voters in our district, so they can make an informed decision with the upcoming levy,” Klinger said.
The district is asking voters in the Nov. 8 general election to support two levy referendum questions. The first question asks for a renewal of the district’s expiring $199.24 per pupil operating levy. The second question asks for an additional $200 per pupil.
The Vote Yes Yes committee is a separate entity from the school district.
The district itself is also planning ways to get the word out. Superintendent Steve Razidlo said at Thursday’s school board meeting that the input he and other administrators are getting from staff and community members is that more information needs to be provided to the public about the referendum.
As a result, the district will host three informational sessions. The sessions are tentatively planned for 7 p.m. Oct. 24 at Forestview Middle School in Baxter, Oct. 27 at Brainerd High School and Nov. 1 at Nisswa Elementary School.
Razidlo said the district is also in the process of developing an informational website about the levy, which will include a question and answer section. In addition, school staffers are developing information to be released soon on what passage and failure of both levy questions could mean for the future of the district.
Razidlo told board members that he was asked by the League of Women Voters Brainerd Lakes Area if the school district would participate in a forum about the upcoming levy vote. Razidlo said he wanted board members’ thoughts on participating in a forum. Typically, forums are for candidate debates.
Board member Chris Robinson said he was concerned that a forum format would appear to turn into a debate with advocacy made by the district. This could cross some legal boundaries. Robinson said he could support more of an informational session, but not a debate-style format. Razidlo said he would find out more information about the intent of the League of Women Voters request.
JODIE TWEED may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.