To the Editor,

Over the last several weeks, I have met with dozens of civic leaders, families, and businesses throughout the Wadena-Deer Creek (WDC) Schools’ community about the upcoming referendum. As superintendent of WDC Schools, I aim to provide community members with information and opportunities to ask questions about this important decision for our students, staff and community members.

I have written previously about the upcoming referendum, but for those who may be hearing about it for the first time, allow me to repeat the key details. On Tuesday, Nov. 7, voters in the WDC School District will consider two ballot questions that, if approved, will authorize funding to support student education and improvements at our school buildings. 

The goals of both questions are to enable our schools to adapt to growing student enrollment, enhance learning opportunities for students, and protect existing services that our students rely on. Question One asks voters to consider a new operating levy of $790 per student to directly support day-to-day educational expenses, including paying for teaching and learning materials, utilities overhead, and the recruitment and retention of quality staff members. Question Two asks voters to consider a separate bonding plan which would invest $17.745 million to complete additions, renovations, deferred maintenance items and improvements to athletics facilities at both our elementary and middle/high schools.  Full details of each question and conceptual improvement plans can be found at Also, it is important to remember that neither Question One nor Question Two is dependent on the other to pass.

The investments detailed by both ballot questions are the result of months of planning including input from students, staff and community members, but the decision of whether to approve these investments is ultimately up to voters. If one or both questions are approved, the investments will be supported by a tax increase on properties within our district. 

The tax impact for residents is primarily dependent on the value of your property. For example, the owner of a $150,000 home – approximately the average home value within our district – would see an estimated property tax increase of $34.44 per month starting in 2024 if both questions are approved. This breaks down to $20 per month for Question One and $14.33 per month for Question Two.

Our district’s goal is to make information about the referendum clear and accessible to all residents. At, you can learn more about how the plan was developed, its goals, and even find a tax calculator to determine the exact impact of the referendum on your taxes.

If you are a resident of the WDC School District, please make a plan to vote in this important decision for our schools. Voting will occur on Tuesday, Nov. 7, between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. at the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center. Early voting is also available in person at the WDC School District Office from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or via an absentee ballot. Absentee ballots can be requested by emailing or following the instructions found at

Thank you to all those who have already voted and asked thoughtful questions about the referendum. I look forward to continued conversations about this decision and future opportunities to improve education for our students.

Lee Westrum, 

WDC Superintendent