This was the year for successful school referenda for most Brainerd lakes area schools.
More than half the voters in the Brainerd School District supported a $1.5 million operating levy. With approval of the levy, the school district will be able to maintain class sizes and continue its programs and services.
The levy will increase the district's general education revenue to $195 per pupil unit to bring in an estimated $1.5 million a year for 10 years. The state will match the local funds raised.
Voters in the school district will head to the polls again next spring and be asked to support a $59.9 million building bond for school construction and renovations.
The Brainerd School Board approved a plan Dec. 13 that includes building a middle-level school in Baxter for grades five through eight that would cost $47.2 million.
After two failed votes, the Pequot Lakes School District approved a $20 million building referendum.
This amount will help build a new elementary school in Breezy Point that will serve five sections per grade. Renovations of the existing elementary and high school buildings will include adding a music room addition, a science area and computer labs. The family and consumer science area will be relocated.
Superintendent Jim Oraskovich projects that groundbreaking for the new school will begin next spring. He expects students to move into the school in November 2003.
"Right now we are in the exciting part," said Oraskovich. "It's nice to be planning and moving ahead."
Oraskovich said taxes will be lower than expected. The school district locked in at a lower interest rate than projected for the bond at 5.22 percent.
Crosby-Ironton School District voters approved a levy referendum of $1 per pupil unit.
Voters in the Pine River-Backus School District turned down the operating levy that would have given the school district an additional $300 per student.
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