While the coronavirus pandemic led many school districts to postpone or cancel plans for special elections on bond referendums, other rural school districts held elections this past week and are pursuing elections in May. On Tuesday, Benson and Bertha-Hewitt area voters approved referendums under $2 million while Montevideo area voters defeated bond questions totaling $61 million.
Absentee ballots became the focus and officials took extra precautions to create a safe voting experience.
- Benson voters overwhelmingly approved (671-191) a new multi-purpose facility for $1.5 million. This followed Benson’s successful passing of a $26.3 million bond referendum in August 2018.
- Bertha-Hewitt voters on passed a $1.995 million bond referendum for the acquisition and betterment of school sites and facilities, including a fitness center, secure entry and instructional spaces.
- Montevideo voters defeated a new PK-4 facility for $47.75 million (744-872) and a new auditorium for $13.28 million (669-945).
*Vote results as reported by each school district.
“While the results are not what we would have hoped, we respect the outcome of today’s election, especially during the current pandemic,” Montevideo Schools Superintendent Luther Heller said. “Looking ahead, we will continue to prioritize the health, safety and educational opportunities for our students. We will re-evaluate our options to address the needs of our aging buildings and re-engage the community on the best way to move forward.”
In February, Maple River voters approved by 10 votes a new PreK-12 facility for $63.3 million, replacing several aging facilities. The proposal had been defeated three times previously.
The Ag2School tax credit significantly reduced the tax burden for farmers and played a large role in the outcome. Learn more.
In November, 43 school districts across Greater Minnesota gained approval for more spending in the form of bond referendums for facilities or operating referendum increases to help fund day-to-day operations. Five of those communities approved both a bond referendum and operating referendum increase at the same time. See the November results.
May 12 the following three rural districts will put bond questions before their voters:
If your district has a bond election planned for May and we don’t have you on the list, please contact MREA. Understandably these are fewer communities than usually hold bond referendums in April and May.
Stay apprised of resources and news on COVID-19 for schools at: MREAvoice.org/covid19