School Board discusses potential November 5 bond referendum

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At its June 27 work-study meeting, the White Bear Lake Area School Board discussed the recommendation for a November 5, 2019 bond referendum to address building needs across the district. The referendum recommendation was requested by the Board and is based on a nearly year-long facilities planning process that included a 90-member Facilities Planning Committee composed of parents, staff and community members. 

The proposed November 5 referendum would request voter approval of bonds to fund the following construction projects which address building needs across the district:

  • district-wide additions and renovations to accommodate projected enrollment growth,
  • safety and security improvements and deferred maintenance projects at all district facilities,
  • district-wide classroom and building updates to create flexible learning spaces.

Building-specific changes, which are primarily driven by enrollment growth and classroom needs, would include:

  • a new K-5 elementary school being built in Hugo,
  • Converting Oneka from grades 2-5 to a K-5 elementary and Hugo Elementary from grades K-1 to a northern Early Childhood location,
  • the current grades 9-10 North Campus receiving an addition to become the district’s grade 9-12 high school,
  • Sunrise Park Middle School moving to the current grades 11-12 South Campus location,
  • the current Sunrise Park Middle School site becoming the site for various community programs including the Senior Center and Early Childhood programs currently housed at Normandy Park, the Transition Education Center currently located in leased space in Hugo, and the district office,
  • Central Middle School expanding to take over the current District Center building.

“This comprehensive plan touches every aspect of the district and will ensure each student benefits from learning spaces that will enhance their educational experience,” said Superintendent Wayne Kazmierczak. “The committee’s work on this complex plan ensures we are investing in security and building maintenance throughout the district while addressing significant enrollment growth.”

The district projects more than 2,000 new students will enroll during the next ten years due to housing growth, which is 25% higher than current capacity. This is on top of more than 7% growth since 2010.

“The Facilities Planning Committee did a tremendous amount of research and work to develop the proposal that led to this referendum recommendation,” said School Board Chair Donald Mullin. “We asked them for a plan that would accommodate enrollment and programs over the next 10 years, align with our Strategic Plan and be financially sustainable - and the Committee delivered.”

The School Board is anticipated to vote on the recommendation at its July 15 meeting. More information about the planning process that led to the recommendation can be found at https://www.isd624.org/about/facilities-planning

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