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Maple School Board looks to the future

The Maple School Board passed two resolutions dealing to the district's future as it prepared for its annual meeting Monday night. The board approved the sale of almost $2.2 million in bonds to pay off the district's Wisconsin Retirement System l...

The Maple School Board passed two resolutions dealing to the district's future as it prepared for its annual meeting Monday night.

The board approved the sale of almost $2.2 million in bonds to pay off the district's Wisconsin Retirement System liability. The liability began in the 1980s when Wisconsin realized cities, counties and school districts weren't paying the system enough to cover pensions for employees.

As a result, in 1989 the state calculated the debt each entity owed to cover prior service costs and set up a formula for each community or district to repay the system at an 8 percent interest. Wisconsin gave each entity 40 years to repay the debt.

The formula was based on area growth, an estimation that more future employees would mean more money would be needed cover the liability. For many communities, this growth didn't happen and the interest out paced the payments, leading to a growing instead of shrinking debt.

To solve the problem of a growing debt in Maple, the board in May approved an administration request to take out a 20-year fixed-term debt to pay off the liability now. The bonds carry a fixed interest rate of about 6 percent.

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The board also approved a resolution to establish a post-employment benefit trust fund. The fund allows the district to invest money in trusts set aside for post-retirement benefits. The funds could come from the budget or labor agreements, said Paul Staffrude, Maple School District's director of finance and business manager.

Jeff Iisakke, of Krause Anderson, reported the projects at Iron River Elementary, Northwestern Middle School and the transportation garage at Northwestern Elementary School are progressing on time and on budget. He also reported that the Northwestern High School football field will be available for use this fall. At this point, the field will remain as is until the budget for the high school construction is examined further, he said.

The field is something that can be looked at in the future, he said.

If plans for the field change again options B and C are still in place for the team, said Gregg Lundberg, superintendent.

Iisakke will give another building update at the district's annual meeting July 23. At that meeting, the board will also discuss the district's budget proposal for the 2007-2008 school year and a resolution for the establishment of a fund for capital expansion project savings.

Anna Kurth covers education. Call her at (715) 395-5019 or e-mail akurth@superiortelegram.com .

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