At their June 12th meeting, the Board of Education directed administrators to begin preparations for a November 7, 2017, election for the purpose of expanding and extending the current operating levy and for the purpose of selling bonds to implement components of the Master Facilities Plan. Formal action regarding ballot language, polling places, and other requirements will be proposed at the August 14, 2017, Board Meeting.
The action follows a three-year process that included a demographic study, a professional facilities analysis study, 25 public meetings, online engagement using the ThoughtExchange platform, and multiple Board work sessions. This intentional and thorough process included hundred of stakeholders providing feedback during the development of the Master Facilities Plan and influenced the Board’s decision to ask that voters revoke the District’s current operating levy and replace it with an operating levy at the maximum amount allowed under state law as part of the same referendum election as any potential bond question.
Administrators are preparing a two-question referendum election for November 7, 2017. The first question will ask voters to revoke the current operating levy and replace it with an operating levy increased by $470.50 per pupil. The second question, contingent upon the first question passing, will ask voters to authorize the District to sell $109 million bonds to finance the components of the Master Facilities Plan. This includes constructing a new high school on the current high school property and demolishing the existing high school, constructing a new elementary school at the same location as the current Greenvale Park Elementary site and repurposing that building as an early childhood center, and modest renovations or additions at Bridgewater Elementary, Sibley Elementary, and Longfellow School. The new high school is estimated to cost $78.5 million and the elementary projects are projected to cost $30.5 million.
You can read Superintendent Matt Hillmann’s referendum proposal to the Board by clicking here and can see a preliminary tax impact statement by clicking here. You can listen to Dr. Hillmann’s interview with KYMN Radio’s Jeff Johnson about the upcoming referendum by clicking here.
District administrators will be working in June and July to prepare additional information and details for the Fall referendum election. This additional information will be available in August 2017. If you have questions about the referendum or the Master Facilities Plan, contact Dr. Hillmann.