BEA board OKs nearly $67M ballot referendum

Local News

Residents of Blue Earth Area School District will have to answer a nearly $67 million-dollar question in the Nov. 6 General Election.

On a 6-1 vote, School Board members approved a ballot referendum calling for the issuance of general obligation bonds to build a new PreK-6 elementary school and fund major renovations and improvements at the high school site.

Board member Mark Franta, who was the lone dissenting vote, says there are academic issues that should be addressed first before spending millions of dollars.

“Simply moving them (students) within new walls is not the solution,” he says. “We need to make more efficient use of the resources already available in our district.”

For the past several months, school officials and a Community Task Force have been discussing the condition of facilities in the district and what the options are.

If approved by voters, the building bonds would not exceed $66.845 million dollars and would also help pay for an additional gymnasium at the new PreK-6 school and about $1.5 million to demolish the current elementary/middle school facility.

District officials have hired the firm Baird to study the financial aspects of the bonds and impact on property taxes.

The firm is planning to develop a website for those seeking an estimated tax increase for a property parcel number.

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