Residents in the Staples-Motley School District voted down a $6.43 million building bond referendum Tuesday.
The issued failed with 644 no votes to 462 yes votes. There was an estimated 20 percent voter turnout. There are 5,430 registered voters in the district.
The district was asking people to support a $6.43 million building bond that would have been used to insulate and replace the roofs on its three school buildings; to replace inefficient windows and worn floors; to make restrooms handicapped accessible; to close the Freshwater Education District building and move its offices to the high school; and to install a biomass burner at the high school.
Staples-Motley Superintendent Mark Schmitz said the Staples-Motley School Board agreed last spring to go to its voters and ask them to support a building bond after the district's facility audit identified that the district needed $17 million in renovations to its three buildings - an elementary school in Staples, elementary school in Motley and the high school/middle school building in Staples. Schmitz said the facilities committee narrowed the list down to the most vital renovations that needed to get done to bring the number of renovations down to an estimated cost of $6.43 million.
Staples-Motley seniors Maggie Mathe (left), Carly Olson, Becki DeGeest and Chelsea Carlson finished their lunch Wednesday outside the Staples-Motley High School building. A referendum to fund improvements at the school district failed Tuesday. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Schmitz said the board decided to have the election Tuesday so the district could take advantage of letting bids out earlier in the year, which in turn hopefully would have saved the district money.
"The biggest thing that hurt us in this election was the economy," said Schmitz. "This (building bond) wasn't a very talked about issue in the community. It wasn't a big glamorous bond for us to go after.
"(With a failed bond) the roof is not going to get done ... Our doors will stay open, but we'll need a few more buckets in our buildings for the leaks."
Schmitz said the buildings are old and they need to be maintained. With the building bond failing, Schmitz said the facility committee will have to determine what the next step will be.
"We put all our energy into this election in hopes that this would pass," Schmitz said. "Now we'll have to evaluate and figure out what we need to do from here.
"I want to thank the people who worked hard on the election and for the people who voted yes."
If the building bond would have been approved it was estimated that the tax increase on a home valued at $100,000 would have been less than $37 a year.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851.
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