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Menahga School District may have another election in spring

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news Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

The Menahga School Board decided Monday to recruit community members to participate in a task force that could possibly come to a consensus on the details of a future expansion project.

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Another referendum may be on the docket for spring. But it won't be for $8.5 million.

Board member Brad Goehrig said there are a lot of different reasons why people voted against the project. One community member told him he would've voted yes if it was for $6 million.

The reason the board needs to go for another election sooner than later is the chance to get stimulus funds.

The district could still get the Qualified School Construction Bond in the spring, which makes a March election the most feasible.

QSCB would allow the district to borrow without interest.

"If you're going to do something, you need to do it right away," superintendent Mary Klamm said. "Otherwise the opportunity will be gone."

Now that they know what's been said on the streets since the election, board members discussed some ways a future expansion project could pass.

Some community members said a three-station gymnasium was "over kill" and others said the community room wasn't necessary, board chair Durwin Tomperi said.

Others just flat out didn't want to pay more taxes.

"You start raising taxes around here ... that's a big impact on a community that's poor to begin with," board treasurer Curtis Hasbargen said.

Some people said the plan didn't include enough classrooms and that a gym class is not as educational as other subjects, Goehrig said.

He added that some of the elderly members of the community couldn't quite comprehend the value of physical education.

"It's not on top of their list," he said. "A lot of them think it's just for sports."

But those who voted yes to the expansion were worried about the district losing open enrollment now that it's running out of space.

"People were frantic and terrified that they may have to change schools," elementary principal Joleen DeLaHunt said. "It really hit home for the little people."

The district will begin recruiting members for the task force in December.

Klamm said more things get accomplished at smaller groups, so a few diverse small groups would give the board an idea of what the community is willing to live with.

"We don't want to say that nothing is off the table," board vice chair Jody Bjornson said.

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