School Board approves May 8 referendum
School Board approves May 8 referendum
Posted on 12/05/2017

Graph showing that 42 percent of the bond will be used for maintenance and 58 percent will be used for academic fine arts and athletic improvementsThe West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan Area (District 197) School Board voted unanimously on December 4 to place one funding question before voters in a referendum on May 8, 2018. The board will ask residents to approve a building bond for structural and mechanical maintenance upgrades at all buildings, K-12. It will also:

- Modernize outdated classrooms and educational spaces
- Improve fine arts and athletics spaces
- Address handicapped accessibility and school parking lot safety

“Our facilities are aging and they are in constant use,” said School Board Chair Joanne Mansur. “Despite the hard work of our staff to keep up with maintenance, repairs and small annual updates, as a community we must make periodic investments to replace equipment and sustain the buildings, classrooms, fields, gyms and stages where our kids learn and grow.”

Graph showing that 40 percent of the bond projects will be done at the high school, 28 percent of projects will be at the middle schools and 32 percent of projects will be at the elementary schoolsDiscussion regarding facilities needs began 18 months ago when the district conducted a district-wide deferred maintenance assessment. Then in March of 2017, the school board assembled a Facilities Task Force of parents, community members, teachers and administrators to complete a comprehensive review of all school buildings and grounds. 

“Thank you to the members of the Facilities Task Force and everyone who contributed to this long-term planning initiative,” said Mansur. “It’s clear that this is a comprehensive proposal that aligns with district goals, offers a fiscally responsible option for our community, positions the district for the future and will have many benefits for our entire community, not just our students.”

If voters approve the ballot question, the tax impact to a resident with a home value of $237,000 (median district home value) would be approximately $87 per year ($7 per month).

The last time District 197 completed a comprehensive study of facilities that included deferred structural and mechanical maintenance needs was 1999. Based on the results, the district proposed a bond to the community, which was approved by voters in 2004.

More information about the bond request is available at www.isd197.org/bond.

LINKS:
Referendum webpage
Fast facts about district finances
List of projects by school