Two bonding questions for the Park Rapids Area Schools were narrowly defeated at the polls on Tuesday.
Question 1, to issue $54.5 million in bonds to make extensive improvements at the high school and Century School, failed by a margin of 116 votes, with 3,463 voting “no” (50.8 percent) and 3,349 voting “yes” (49.2 percent).
Question 2, contingent on Question 1 passing, was to raise an additional $3.7 million to replace the tennis courts at Century School and build a new bus garage. The question failed by approximately 400 votes, besides automatically failing with the defeat of Question 1. Vote totals were 3,634 (53.1 percent) voting no and 3,208 (46.9 percent) voting yes.
“I am very disappointed,” said school board chair Sherry Safratowich. “Today, our residents gave us some direction with this election result. As our enrollment continues to grow, we will need to work together to find a way to invest in the quality of school buildings, so that we can offer the dynamic learning environment that every child deserves.”
“We are disappointed with the results, but respect the decision of the of the voters,” Superintendent Lance Bagstad agreed. “We will continue to engage our communities and work to find the best path forward to address the challenges of our educational and facility programs for the future generations of Park Rapids Area students.”
In uncontested races for three seats on the Park Rapids School Board, Safratowich received 5,064 votes; incumbent board member Jay L. Pike received 4,982 votes; and Dana Kocka received 4,248 votes to win the seat currently held by Gary Gauldin. There were also 111 write-in votes.
“I am honored to be a part of the Park Rapids School Board,” said Kocka. “I am passionate about our children’s education and will always strive for excellence. I have the utmost respect and confidence in our school system, and I am excited to be a part of it.”
Vote totals are unconfirmed until ballots are canvassed on Nov. 12.