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Mother of five; board member make plea for school levy vote

Despite the skepticism as to whether an increased school tax levy referendum could pass, the Perham-Dent School Board heard two pleas in support of a vote.

"We paid only about $150 on our taxes for the's shameful," said Annette Riestenberg, at the March 16 school board session. "We can afford more than that for the schools, and I hope others feel the same way."

As a mother of five, with three kids still students in the Perham district, Riestenberg urged the board to consider trying for another levy vote.

She had support at the front table, as board member Arnie Thompson expressed his support.

"We still need the referendum," said Thompson, reminding the board that, if the referendum passes, it is still a full year before the new revenue comes into the school. "These cuts are only bailing us out for one year. We will still need to cut another half million dollars the following year."

Several board members have been reluctant to try another referendum--because of the grim economic conditions. Last fall, a Perham levy referendum that would have generated up to $1 million a year for the next ten years failed by more than a 2-1 margin.

Some board members have stated that, with the failure of the vote in fall of 2008, another referendum would meet a similar fate.