Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois Johnson
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Barnum school not willing to consolidate


The Barnum School Board members did not support continuing talks with the Moose Lake School Board about consolidation at the meeting of the board on Tuesday, February 18.

“I haven’t spoken to one person that has been in favor of consolidation,” said board member Colleen Fetters. “Moose Lake has nothing to offer us. Why should we put ourselves in that situation?”

“Some think that there could be definite benefits,” said board member Paul Coughlin. “It could be possible but there isn’t enough support.”

“The idea should be looked at down the road,” said board member Lenore Skoglund. “It’s a good idea for the education of our kids in the area but not at this time.”

“Let’s keep it in the backs of our minds,” said board member Tony Newman.

Pat Poirier, the board chairman, agreed with the statements of the other school board members. “It would give our kids a lot but there is no support,” he said. “We’re not interested in consolidating at this time.”

Board member Michael Line said no to the consolidation proposal.

Building project

The board approved Plan A for additions and remodeling of the high school building, as recommended by architect Kevin Holm of LHB. The board had discussed Plans A and B at a working meeting the week before.

Superintendent Dave Bottem listed the details of the plan, and said the estimated cost is nearly $16 million. The plan includes a $50,000 two-level building near the sports complex, he added.

An outdated boiler in the elementary school needs to be replaced, due to the inability to obtain parts. The plans call for replacement of the boiler and connecting all of the four boilers in the elementary school. The new boiler would also be more energy efficient.

Lighting in the high school would be replaced with energy efficient lighting.

“Kevin (the architect) said that we will actually see a savings in our utilities,” said Supt. Bottem.

Lists showing the actual amount of the bond sale were distributed and showed a total of $16,280,000. Those costs include sending information to the Department of Education for the required review and comment, the cost of the bond sale and other costs associated with the project.

Due to existing debt, repayment of the new debt, if the referendum passes, will be reduced in the first four years while the old debt is paid off. The debt for the new school would extend out for 20 years.

Tax impact information shows the tax for the project would be $311 on a $150,000 property. Supt. Bottem explained that number was $6 more than it had been previously.

Ehlers, the financial consulting firm, can provide the exact increase in property value for property owners in the Barnum School District. Information will be provided in a brochure that will be sent to school district residents about where to call to get that information.

Times when the residents can meet with the board to find out information about the project will be listed in the brochures.

The school board will make a final decision in May whether to present the bond referendum to the voters in August.

The board set make-up days for days the school was closed for April 16 and 17, and June 4. The day Gov. Mark Dayton closed all of the schools in the state will not have to be made up, it was said.

The board approved the 2014-15 revised budget.

The board met in a closed session at the end of the meeting to discuss the price for property across from Barnum Elementary. The property owner needs to submit a price before a decision can be made, reported Supt. Bottem.

The next meeting of the Barnum School Board was set for Tuesday, March 18, at 6:30 p.m. in the board room.


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