May 23, 2013 | Volume 118, Issue No. 21

VOTERS SAY NO TO NEW SCHOOL

Moose Lake school bond referendum fails

The $33 million bond referendum for a new Moose Lake school failed with 1,138 no votes and 646 yes votes in the election on Tuesday, May 21, according to unofficial results provided by the school.

Dan Lingle
Local farmers take to the streets of Moose Lake Saturday, May 18, in an effort to spread the word to "VOTE NO" on Moose Lake Community Schools\' $33 million bond referendum for a new school. The vote was held Tuesday and ultimately voted down by taxpayers in the district.

Turnout was heavy in this controversial election. A "Vote Yes" campaign conducted by mail, telephone, an ad in the local shopper and on social media, was countered by a strong "Vote No" campaign. Signs along busy highways urged voters to vote no, and ads were taken in the local shopper.

Letters to the editor from readers stating their reasons for both sides of the question were published. The increase in taxes was one common argument presented in the letters and ads for voting no.

The $33 million project included a new school on the school district’s property, located along County Road 10 on the south end of the city, along with a new bus garage. The new school would have replaced the old school, of which the northern end was the original school constructed in 1936. Fire had destroyed the previous school, which had survived the 1918 fire and had been used as a hospital for injured fire victims.

Additions were added to the original 1936 building, however, the high school portion of the school has inadequate wiring, plumbing, and is not readily handicap accessible. The antiquated fire alarm system had to be replaced last summer after it was discovered not to be functioning.

Two classrooms are closed off at the end of a hall because they are too far from the exits in case of a fire.

A portion of the school was flooded in the high waters last June, resulting in $850,000 in restoration costs. Federal Emergency Management Agency funds have reimbursed the school district for most of the outlay of the expenses, with the remaining funds expected soon.

The $33 million also included funds to demolish the oldest portion of the school.

Now that the referendum has failed, the school board will be considering the next step.

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