Talks have resumed between city officials and the Decorah School District regarding how to solve the District’s elementary facility needs.
Decorah Superintendent Mark Lane said he spoke with Mayor Lorraine Borowski and City Manager Chad Bird after he was hired last year in an effort to bring the discussion back to the table.
“In talking with them, it became clear that after the city and School Board elections, there would be some different people involved. We discussed letting the election pass and bringing the groups back together after winter break (over the holidays),” said Lane.
Lane said a discussion last week surrounded reconvening a task force to talk about “common interests” the city and District have in solving the facilities problem.
Representing the city on the task force are Borowski, Bird, Parks and Recreation Director Andy Nimrod and Council Members Johanna Bergan and Emily Neal. The District is being represented by Board President Ron Fadness, Board Vice President Brian Petersburg, Shareholders Committee Co-Chair Mark Lovelace, Activities Director Adam Riley and Lane.
“Looking into spring, we’re trying to determine how to move forward. People want collaboration and interdependence,” he said.
Lane said one of the key factors affecting a possible location of a new elementary school continues to be the District’s high cost of transportation.
“There are only eight districts in the state that spend more money on transportation than we do. The long-term impact is that all of our transportation costs come out of our general fund,” he said.
Lane said this is the third year in a row that North Winn and Decorah have received additional transportation equity money from the state.
“It’s a study bill right now, and Governor Reynolds talked about transportation equity in her state of the state address, and has indicated she would sign it,” he said.
The bill would provide additional money that would be distributed to school districts, such as Decorah, that spend more than the statewide average to transport their students to school.