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Brainerd School District: Attention voters - Bond referendum vote is Tuesday

Voters will head to the polls to cast ballots as part of the Brainerd School District bond referendum from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 10. Voters will see three questions that seek a total of $145.71 million to improve all school facilities -...

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Voters will head to the polls to cast ballots as part of the Brainerd School District bond referendum from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 10. Voters will see three questions that seek a total of $145.71 million to improve all school facilities - including $12 million in improvements to Nisswa Elementary School. Screen grab of the lower part of the Blueprint181.org website homepage.
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Voters will head to the polls to cast ballots as part of the Brainerd School District bond referendum from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 10.

Voters will see three questions that seek a total of $145.71 million to improve all school facilities - including $12 million in improvements to Nisswa Elementary School. That number is part of a school district facilities improvement plan that totals $205 million.

Following is information Brainerd School District voters should know:

• The ballot has three questions.

This first pertains to improvements to elementary schools and early childhood education facilities for a total investment of $104 million from three funding sources; the voter-approved cost is $68.36 million.

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The second question pertains to improvements to secondary schools and alternative education facilities for a total investment of $93 million from three funding sources; the voter-approved cost is $69.35 million.

The third question asks to build a performing arts center at Brainerd High School for a total investment of $8 million, all of which would be voter-approved funds.

The third question can pass only if the second question is approved since the performing arts center would be part of improvements to the high school.

• The tax impact is $7 per month based on a median value residential property in the school district of $156,200, if all three referendum questions pass. Visit www.blueprint181.org to use an interactive tax impact calculator to determine the impact to your property taxes based on your property's value.

• Visit www.blueprint181.org to find your polling place. Early voting is open, and absentee ballots are available from the Crow Wing County Elections Office at 218-824-1051.

The questions

• Question 1: The plan to address elementary schools and early childhood facilities needs preserves neighborhood schools; invests in all elementary buildings; increases safety, security and accessibility; enhances learning environments and technology integration; minimizes impact on families by limiting boundary changes; limits new construction; and creates flexibility for future.

The plan includes adding onto and remodeling Nisswa Elementary School, including early childhood education; and building a new Baxter Elementary School. Improvements would help elementary schools to be able to handle projected enrollment growth.

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• Question 2: The plan to address secondary schools and alternative education facilities increases safety, security and accessibility; preserves the location of Brainerd High School in downtown Brainerd; enhances career and technical education and workforce development; increases technology integration; adds multipurpose/collaboration spaces, gym, swimming pool and a 950-seat auditorium; and creates flexibility for future.

• Question 3: Contingent upon approval of the second question, this plan upgrades the 950-seat auditorium in Question 2 to a 1,200-seat performing arts center.

Funding

Three projected funding sources include existing funding with no direct tax impact; and existing board authority and the voter approved authority, which both do have a direct tax impact.

• Existing funding totals $27.49 million, of which $18.3 million would go to elementary schools and $9.15 million would go to secondary schools.

• Existing board authority totals $31.8 million. This is funding the board can collect from taxpayers for specific projects, such as parking lots and indoor air quality projects.

• Voter-approved authority totals $145.71 million. This is what will be on the referendum ballot with $68.36 million for elementary schools, $69.35 million for secondary schools, and $8 million for the performing arts center.

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Visit www.blueprint181.org for lots of information or call 218-454-6900 with questions.

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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