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Brunnette, Adou ready to continue

Newly re-elected school board members Tracy Brunnette and Marsha Adou said they're glad to be back, but they see tight budget times ahead.

The district has unallocated money and some of it was spent to balance this year's budget, but in future years, the money dwindles. Without excess money, the district has to consider short-term borrowing because state money, which is the majority of the money the district receives, comes twice a year.

There was no raise in education funding in the last legislative session and board members were happy that there was no cut.

This coming year is a bonding year for the Legislature and no change in education is anticipated because of state deficits, though education spending some bills might be introduced.

During the discussion of how to spend excess construction money from the 2006 election to build East Ridge High School, board members talked briefly about asking voters for more money for classroom education in a referendum next fall, but have not asked the administration for a recommendation.

Though the excess bond money can only be used for construction-related projects, and has to be approved by the Minnesota Department of Education, it can be used to reduce property taxes.

"We have to be thoughtful of taxpayers," Adou said

It's not all gloom ahead, though, both said they see future opportunities.

"We've done so many awesome things as a district," Brunnette said. "I'm anxious to move forward. I'm so proud of what we do. People in other districts ask me what we are doing to be so successful."

Adou said she is relieved to have been re-elected even if by a slim margin.

"I just keep plugging along and trying to make a difference," she said. "In these economic times, we need to watch the taxpayers' dollars. We're entrusted with educating 17,000 students. It's a big responsibility."

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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