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Detroit Lakes voters reject $59 million school building referendum

By Wendy Reuer / The Forum

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – Voters here rejected a $59 million school building referendum Tuesday night.

In complete but unofficial results, the measure failed by 58 percent, or 1,883 “no” votes, over 41 percent, or 1,334 votes, in support of the plan, according to district staff.

Superintendent Doug Froke could not be reached for comment late Tuesday evening.

The project was brought on by growing enrollment and overcrowding at current schools in the Detroit Lakes District.

The district has grown by more than 250 students since 2006 and is expecting at least 100 more students by 2017.

Currently, there is no space for fifth-graders, who are currently housed in the middle school.

The referendum would have raised property taxes by $11 on a $100,000 home.

The district proposed spending $59 million to build a new elementary school and upgrade technology throughout its current buildings as well as a number of other facility projects.

An elementary school for kindergarten through third-graders about 1.5 miles was proposed north of Detroit Lakes.

The district would then have housed fourth- and fifth-graders at Roosevelt Elementary. Air conditioning would also have been added to the building.

The project would have allowed the district to add increased security and safety measures at the middle school and high school.

The Lincoln Education building and the district administration buildings would have been closed. Students and staff at the two buildings would have been housed in the new elementary building.

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