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Tripp-Delmont to vote on opt-out today

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news Mitchell, 57301

Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

TRIPP -- Residents of the Tripp-Delmont School District will vote today whether to continue a $300,000 opt-out.

"I've had a few parents contact me that they are working to just make sure people are aware this is a reauthorization of the current opt-out and not an increase in taxes," said Superintendent Lynn Vlasman.

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He understands residents are concerned about the optout, but Vlasman said he's confident the vote will prove the majority wants the best for the district.

An opt-out is an action taken by a school board to raise more revenue than the state's property-tax freeze would otherwise allow.

Kenneth Peters, Delmont, circulated a petition against the opt-out, which prompted today's election.

"There's a lot of upset people. It seems like they try to shove (the opt-out) down our throats right away," he said. "We wanted to see what we could do about it."

Peters, and others like him, are against the higher taxes to support a dwindling school district. Currently, the district is adding on to the school, which doesn't seem reasonable, Peters said.

The school has already made cuts for the 2011-12 school year. Vlasman said the board has cut the part-time counselor and part-time custodian, and one teacher will be half-time and another will be four-fifths. However, the board succeeded in not cutting any core or extracurricular programs.

"We're monitoring supplies to see if we can reduce in those areas," Vlasman said. "And there're a few changes in schedule to minimize some travel."

He added that if the public votes against the opt-out, the district will have to go back to make additional cuts, which could include four or five teachers.

The polls are open in Delmont and Tripp from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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