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Pine Island approves levy requests, ousts two incumbent board members

PINE ISLAND — Voters on Tuesday approved two excess levies to carry payroll and operating costs for the schools through the next decade.

The two measures will raise an additional $700 per student each year from property taxes above what the Pine Island school district receives in state funding.

District officials say the roughly $700,000 per year raised by the levies will guarantee financial stability for at least the next two years and will allow district expenses to keep pace with inflation. Both levies remain in place for 10 years.

The first measure renews a $500-per-student levy, wouldn't raise property taxes and passed 69 percent to 31 percent. The second measure was a new $200-per-student levy that would increase taxes for the owner of a $150,000 by $63 a year. It passed 57 percent to 43 percent.

Also, voters ousted the two incumbents running for re-election to the school board. Vice chairwoman Ann Fahy-Gust received 402 votes (9 percent), and director Rebecca Schumann received 267 (6 percent), the two lowest totals among the candidates.


In order of votes received, candidates Rob Warneke, John Champa, Angela Heiden and Kim Fall were elected to the school board. Their terms start in 2012.

Warneke, a 43-year-old math teacher at Byron High School, was the top vote-getter with 891 votes, 19 percent of the total vote. He aims to bring the experience gained during 18 years as a teacher in a fast-growing district that has won several awards for academic excellence to Pine Island, he said.

"You come in with high hopes," Warneke said. Pine Island’s "teaching staff is excellent, and there’s a lot of really good things to build on there, and I hope I can bring some of the experiences I’ve gained and work with them."

Warneke has four children attending public school in Pine Island, he said.

Warenke said he wants to work with the board and teachers to help Pine Island refine its operating procedures and curricula.

"I’ve been able to observe a district really grow in its efficiency and its focus," he said. "I’d like to bring as much of that learned experience to Pine Island and try to help them with their unique needs."

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