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School Board transfers money

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River Falls, 54022

River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

The Hudson Board of Education voted unanimously last week to transfer $4.5 million from the general fund into a fund designated for future capital projects.

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The balance in the general fund before the transfer was approximately $16 million. The board members had discussed the current level of the general fund and the amount that should be transferred at last month's board meeting. Finance committee chairman Dan Tjornehoj said the committee was recommending the figure of $4.5 million to the rest of the board as the right figure to provide the district with adequate working capital and a safety net against any unforeseen expenses.

Tjornehoj read from District Policy 3121, which identifies the purpose of the general fund and says funds in excess of the district's operational needs can be designated for capital projects and improvements.

President Annette Cook said the board had long discussions deciding on what amount should be transferred to the capital fund, but that she was comfortable with the figure voted upon. "This district has always been fiscally responsible, and we didn't want to do anything that would put that or the needs of the district at risk."

Board member Dick Muenich said one of the board's most important responsibilities is to the taxpayers of the district and that a healthy fund balance is part of that. "We are not going to spend the fund balance foolishly, and I am comfortable with the $4.5 million figure."

Board members Mark Kaisersatt, Cindy Crimmins and Priscilla Wyeth said they were comfortable with the transfer amount and the subsequent balance in the general fund, and supported the recommendation of the finance committee.

The school board has been criticized by some district residents for maintaining too high a general fund balance and not using some of that fund to reduce school taxes.

In other business, board members approved expenditures of $1,486,677.58 and acknowledged the pending retirement of Arnie Fett, who has been the district's director of fiscal operations for 17 years. Fett was also appointed deputy clerk for the April 4 school board election.

Superintendent Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten reported that open enrollment this year will be from Feb. 6-24. This school year, 27 students from outside the district are attending Hudson schools and 29 students from Hudson are attending school in other districts. The superintendent said students are accepted into the district only as space allows.

The superintendent told the board that she and district administrators are contacting all non-incumbent school board candidates, offering to meet with them to answer questions and discuss issues facing the district, and all school board meeting materials will be made available to them.

Meg Heaton can be reached at mheaton@rivertowns.net.

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