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Menahga school project goes to vote

Voters will be asked to vote once again on a Menahga School building project. The project has been reduced by about $3 million since the last time voters were asked to support the project. (Anna Erickson/Enterprise)

Voters will once again go to the polls to vote on a referendum to expand the Menahga School.

This time the project is scaled down by about $3 million. An $8.5 million referendum was voted down in November by about 56 percent of voters.

The Menahga School Board approved moving forward with a special election April 13 asking for a referendum at its Tuesday meeting.

After several meetings and feedback from the public, the proposed total project is $5.5 million.

The special election ballot will include two questions.

The first question on the April 13 ballot will ask voters to authorize the school district to issue general obligation school building bonds for $4.95 million. This includes construction and equipping of five elementary classrooms, a gymnasium, women's and men's locker rooms, a concession and foyer area, bathrooms, a training room and referee facility, kitchen and gym storage and the remodeling of the agricultural shop to include a weight room.

The second question on the ballot will ask voters to authorize the school district to issue an additional $560,000 in bonds, which includes the construction and equipping of two high school classrooms, one high school science lab and the remodeling of existing high school science classrooms to create three elementary classrooms.

Menahga School superintendent Mary Klamm said if voters approve the referendum construction would tentatively begin in July 2010 and be completed in August 2011.

School board chairman Durwin Tomperi told the school board that, "if we go forward, it is our due diligence to promote this."

Board member Raymond Aho said it's important to remind constituents that if the school doesn't move forward with this project it will likely have to make handicapped accessibility improvements anyway, which would total about $1.3 million.

"A lot of work and effort has gone into this and it's down to bare bones," said board member Curtis Hasbargen.

He added that this is the time to move forward because bids should come in low.

"We need to continue to inform the public," Hasbargen said.

In other business, the board:

n Approved a resolution for short term borrowing in light of state payment days.

n Approved hiring Eide-Bailly for the school's auditing services for 2010-12 at the cost of approximately $3,000 per year.

n Called for bids for a school van and driver's education car. The school's current van and car will soon be more than 12 years old and won't be able to be used due to state regulations.

n Approved the first review of the proposed 2010-11 school calendar. The calendar includes 180 teacher days and 173 student days.

n Approved an application to the Minnesota State High School League Foundation for a grant for a defibrillator at the school. By having a defibrillator located near the high school entrance it will be closer to the football and baseball fields.

n Approved a Freshwater Education District joint powers agreement for Central Minnesota Online Learning in the amount of $24,500.

n Approved resignations of Barb Burkman (36 years), Barb Etter (10 years) and Steve Vaydich (30 years).

n Appointed spring coach hirings as follows: Charlie Dormanen, head baseball coach, step 8; Ramsey Miller, assistant baseball coach, step 2; Brian Carlson, head softball coach, step 8; Laura Dissmore, assistant softball coach, step 4; Tim Wurdock, head golf coach, step 8; Dale Captain, assistant golf coach, step 6; Justin Day, assistant golf coach, step 2; and Nichole Ament, assistant golf coach, step 1.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
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