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After five failures, Menahga School bond referendum finally passes

Menahga School District will construct a new, two-story high school addition.

Voters approved two out of the three questions posed in a Nov. 7 bond referendum.

According to the Minnesota Secretary of State, district residents approved Question 1, a $9.9 million bond issue for the construction and equipping of an addition to the high school facility, including 10 additional classrooms and shop areas, a new kitchen and lunchroom, and replacing the existing multi-purpose room with a one-station gymnasium, locker rooms and toilet facilities.

Question 1 passed with 710 "yes" votes to 503 "no."

Voters also approved Question 2, a $4.1 million bond issue to construct a second floor, with 12 classrooms, on the new high school addition. This option passed 623 votes "in favor" to 571 "against."

Question 3 failed. This option asked for a $5 million bond to provide accessible space for adaptive physical education, expanded gymnasium/performance space, a clean lab for high school robotics and laser engraving, a fitness and weight room, and a high school office. There were 632 "no" votes to 559 "yes."

The school district will prepay its 2010 and 2012 building additions, totaling approximately $1.7 million, to help offset the tax impact to property owners. The school board has also committed to underlevy to maintain a level debt service tax rate over the life of the proposed bond issue to further reduce the tax impact on a $100,000 home. With that underlevy, the tax impact on a $100,000 home is $17 per year for Question 1 and another $24 for Question 2.

The median home value in the city of Menahga is $98,000.

State aid will pay for 29 percent of the entire $14 million project.

Five previous bond referendums had failed in the Menahga School District. The first one, a $8.5 million bond, failed in 2009 with 466 "yes" versus 609 "no." Two bond requests in 2010 failed by very narrow margins — 692 "for" and 695 "against." Another bond referendum, at $15.7 million, failed 792 to 755 in November 2014. Earlier this year, a $29.8 million bond referendum failed 906 "no" votes to 730 in favor.

Howard elected to school board

The Menahga School Board also called for a special election to elect the new board member.

Katie Howard's appointment to the school board expires in January 2018. The board held a special election Nov. 7 to fill the remaining year of the term.

Katie Howard was overwhelmingly approved for the school board member position. She received 659 votes, followed by Anna Skaro (321) and Bob Smith (106) and 4 write-ins.

Howard will serve from Jan. 2018 through Jan. 2019.