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Closing of school does not appear to be necessary
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From Chuck Herbst, Black Hawk School Board Member

To the editor:

In October 2011, the Black Hawk administration and the Black Hawk School Board decided and voted to close the school in Gratiot. This decision was made due to a budget short fall of $350,000 to $400,000 and a failed referendum to raise the revenue limit, which would have raised taxes and essentially given the school board an open checkbook.

There were several people who were upset with the closing of the school due to no meetings and no information on how it would work and how much it would cost. When the information was finally presented, the district stood to save $347,000 by closing the school. These numbers were challenged by several people from the district, including myself. When the board was asked to reconsider, they turned a deaf ear to everyone. A petition was circulated to persuade the school to revisit the closing and let the public make the decision with a vote. This was also turned down.

On June 28, 2012 the school board met in a special meeting to close the fiscal year books and to their surprise the final numbers were $118,000 to the plus instead of the $350,000 to $400,000 to the negative. This is a $500,000 swing. The school board thought we should celebrate the savings.

It appears at first glance the closing of the school was not necessary, and the budget needs to be reviewed very closely. I promise to work with the school board and the administration to go through the budget line by line and find out how and where this mistake was made, and report back to the residents and taxpayers of the district.

Right now we need to stop throwing away books, chairs, computers, lockers, and a building that is the center of our community. I need the help of the residents and taxpayers, by calling your school board members and letting them know how you feel, ask questions, get answers, and ask how you can help. The budget is public information. If you want a copy to review, you can call the school at 439-5371 and ask for Jane.